Lightweighting and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

By on August 1, 2019 in IN THE NEWS

University of Toronto and Ford R&D researchers have determined that lightweighting will be effective in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emission over the next 10 to 20 years. Conventional powertrain vehicles are expected to be dominant during that time.

Their study, “A Dynamic Fleet Model of U.S Light-Duty Vehicle Lightweighting and Associated Greenhouse Gas Emissions from 2016 to 2050,” evaluated electric vehicle penetration, improved fuel consumption, fleet makeup (average light-duty vehicle size and total fleet stock, etc.) and the flow of automotive material on the U.S. fleet-scale GHG emission changes due to lightweighting.

For the study, the team developed the FLAME model (Fleet Life cycle Assessment and Materialflow Estimation) for the U.S. light-duty fleet from 2016 to 2050.

They used 12 vehicle technology categories and two size categories—cars and light trucks—to represent the U.S. light-duty fleet. Each type was given a material composition (percent breakdown), curb weight (kg) and fuel consumption (l or kWh/100 km) for each model year.

The vehicle material compositions were:
• high-strength steel and advanced high-strength steel (HSS/AHSS)
• cast iron
• mild steel and other steels
• wrought aluminum
• cast aluminum
• all other materials

The model estimated that an aggressive lightweighting scenario using aluminum reduces 2016 through 2050 life cycle GHG emissions by 2.9 Gt CO2 eq (5.6 percent) and annual emissions in 2050 by 11 percent.