In the commercial road transport industry, aluminum’s success is not only due to its lightness; aluminum applications also provide great design
flexibility for manufacturers, lower costs for operators and improved ergonomics for drivers. Furthermore, as aluminum components are recycled
in a fully economical way, land-filling is avoided. Use of aluminum components also increases the residual value of vehicles. For these reasons,
aluminum use in trucks, trailers and buses will continue to grow significantly.
In 1910, first aluminum components took place in Parisian buses.In 1930, industrial development of commercial vehicles components in Europe
Already in 1950s, first aluminum road tankers, vans and tipping vehicles and 1976, all aluminum truck prototype by Alusuisse
Today,most fuel tankers and silo semi-trailers are made entirely of aluminum.What is more, aluminum is frequently used for vans, tipping and
Aluminum components are used for a diversity of applications and without aluminum, the average articulated vehicle would be 800kg heavier
Starting from tomorrow, the weight of the average articulated truck could be 2000kg less if all existing aluminum applications were used
Reduction of CO2 emissions
Aluminum contributes to the reduction of CO2 emissions from road transport in two ways.First of all, when carrying heavy goods, it
increases the load capacity of vehicles and therefore improves transport performance, allowing more goods to be carried per trip.
Secondly, when carrying voluminous goods or numerous passengers, it reduces the overall weight, lowering fuel consumption per
Life-cycle reduction of CO2 emissions format:1kg of aluminum in today’s average articulated truck saves 28kg of CO2. Thus, every
additional kg of aluminum in tomorrow’s average articulated truck would save a minimum of 20kg of CO2.In addition, 1kg of aluminum
in a city bus typically saves 45kg of CO2
Unlike traditional vehicles that are exported to end their life a long way from Europe, aluminum-intensive trailers often spend their
entire life in the same region, where they are eventually dismantled.
Due to the high value of aluminum scrap, the motivation to sell to a scrap merchant is very high.
In the context of its Road Safety Action Program, the European Commission is looking into the intro-duction of energy absorption criteria for trucks. The aluminum industry has already developed several solutions for the automotive and railway sectors and would be ready to take up this challenge for trucks (see Figure 1).
Regarding metal deformation that energy-absorbing elements undergo upon impact, aluminum systems make it possible to absorb significantly more crash energy per unit of weight than traditional systems. As a rule of thumb, the lightweighting potential exceeds 40%.
Finally, it should be stressed that other parts of the vehicles, such as front and rear end under-run pro-tection devices, could also play a significant role in energy absorption.
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