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Alcoa Automotive Wheels has announced that it has been awarded the wheel programme for the Chevy Volt by General Motors (GM).

Mike Parnell, vice-president and general manager at Alcoa Auto Wheels, said: ‘Working closely with the GM team resulted in a wheel designed, engineered and manufactured for lightweight performance that will further extend the range of this alternative propulsion vehicle.’ Alcoa focused on design, engineering and production techniques to increase strength and durability while lowering the overall weight of the wheel.

Forged aluminium wheels by Alcoa provide increased strength and durability gains and are typically greater than 20 per cent lighter while doubling strength as compared to a similar cast-aluminium wheel.

Lightweight wheels not only have a linear effect on reducing emissions and fuel consumption but can also improve driving performance and efficiency from a lower rotary inertia.

As the energy used to accelerate and decelerate the wheel is reduced, less mass is required in adjacent, un-sprung components such as brakes, steering and suspension.

Lowering overall un-sprung weight compounds the benefits of fuel economy and reduces emissions.

General Motors has targeted the Chevy Volt to deliver up to 40 miles of fuel- and emissions-free electric driving with the extended-range capability of hundreds of additional miles.

Removing unnecessary weight from the vehicle platform has been a major goal of the development programme.

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