Source: ET Auto.com – EVs to brighten aluminium industry prospects

Source: ET Auto.com – EVs to brighten aluminium industry prospects

It is estimated that the average aluminium content in an electric vehicle will be about 250 kg. Therefore, the demand for aluminium will skyrocket as the manufacturing and sale of electric vehicles increase. This light and sturdy metal can be extensively used in the building of EV infrastructure like charging stations. Use of aluminium, instead of steel, enhances performance, safety, fuel efficiency and durability of EVs, and also renders many environmental benefits.

Right now, the strategists, think-tanks, eyes and minds of the auto industry are focussed on two questions. How deep will be the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the industry and what could be the strategies to be considered to offset its negatives?

Automobile Industry has been wading through multiple challenges including the economic slowdown, BS-VI-related delays and now the pandemic. Amid all the gloom the Industry could count on the opportunity of electric vehicles as a positive straw to clutch on.

Aluminium is a universally versatile metal and is therefore widely used across various sectors. Aluminium, the metal that made flying possible, is sustainable, light and energy-efficient. As it enhances energy efficiency it reduces carbon emissions and as it condenses weight it helps accelerate vehicles. Light, sturdy and malleable with a matchless strength-to-weight ratio, it has proven to be the go-to material for the aviation and automotive industry.

For over a century aluminium has been part of the auto industry. The first sports car premiered at the Berlin International Motor Show in 1899 featured an aluminium body. Now aluminium is the second most used material in the auto industry next to steel. In the manufacturing process, 2 kg steel or cast iron can be replaced with 1 kg aluminium.

The automobile industry uses aluminium in manufacturing the vehicle’s frame and body, in electrical wiring, wheels, ABS brakes, transmission, air conditioner condenser and pipes, magnets for speedometers, tachometers and airbags and in engine parts like pistons, radiator, and cylinder head. Use of aluminium, instead of steel, enhances performance, safety, fuel efficiency and durability, and also renders many environmental benefits.

The aluminium sector is going through an exciting time with soaring consumption mainly thanks to electric vehicles and they will continue to be a boon for it. With the plan to make India a hub of electric vehicles, the government has announced a series of measures, including investments worth USD1.4-billion. This constant push from the Government of India is estimated to make India the fourth-largest market for EVs by 2040.

If we estimate the increase in manufacturing and sale of EVs in 2030, for every 10 lakh vehicles sold the aluminium demand will be 2.5 lakh tonnes, with an average aluminium content of 250 kg/EV. Therefore, the demand for aluminium will skyrocket as the manufacturing and sale of electric vehicles increase.

With our country adopting this development, there will be considerable increase in demand for aluminium on account of infrastructure for serving EVs. The metal is commonly used in the making of EV charging stations and other related infrastructure.

The EV battery enclosures are another opportunity for aluminium. These are in addition to the aluminium extrusions which are set to increase to an average of 80 kg on an electric vehicle. With this, aluminium’s cumulative demand is set to rise by several hundred thousand tonnes by 2030.

K R Raghunath, Vice Chairman, Jindal Aluminium Limited

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