General Motors has struck a ten-year deal with Canada’s Alcan for the supply of aluminium at stable prices. The deal should pave the way for the first high-volume US production of an all-aluminium car.
GM has an aluminium vehicle the EV1 electric car but this is not in volume production.
Under the GM-Alcan deal, the companies will co-operate to develop automotive applications, including an aluminium-intensive car.
‘A steady supply of aluminium at stable prices will give our engineers more freedom to work on new applications,’ said Alan Adler, GM spokesman.
GM buys 800 million kg of aluminium a year. It plans to raise its usage 7% or more a year. Alcan supplies about 25% of the vehicle manufacturer’s needs.
The aluminium content in vehicles averages around 100kg a car but is expected to rise to as much as 320kg, or about 40% of a car’s body weight.
Frank Walker, British Steel’s technical representative in the Ultra Light Steel Auto Body project, said the aluminium industry still had to overcome many technical difficulties in working with car manufacturers.