The demand for hollow aluminium chassis components for use in the construction of electric vehicles is on the rise according to a prominent aluminium casting firm in the United Kingdom.
The Coventry-based firm Sarginsons Industries recently related to an industry publication that the firm has been tasked with increasingly more lightweight parts for electric vehicles. Sarginsons Industries has developed aluminium parts to replace traditional steel parts for vehicles from self-driving cars through to buses and recycling trucks.
However, replacing solid steel with hollow aluminium while retaining the same degree of strength and safety as the original steel is not an easy task according to the firm’s engineers.
“Lightweighting is increasingly important in the automotive sector, particularly in electric vehicles as it contributes vastly to increased battery range and makes electric a highly viable proposition,” explains managing director Anthony Evans.
“Original equipment manufacturers can save hundreds of kilos in weight on an average 4×4 vehicle just by installing hollow aluminium castings instead of the traditional steel.
“We’re also currently working on designs for completely hollow aluminium wishbones, combined wishbones and suspension housings and we are even looking at casting an entirely hollow sub-frame. These are very complicated parts which require sophisticated engineering.
“Manufacturing hollow aluminium automotive components which are as strong as steel is extremely challenging so we’re particularly pleased with the breakthroughs we’ve been able to achieve.”
The firm’s products have been tested by research institutions like the UK’s Advanced Metal Casting Centre and the Lightweight Energy Absorbing Aluminium Structures for Transport. Tests have borne out the fact that the hollow aluminium parts designed by Sarginsons Industries are at least as safe and strong as the steel counterparts they replace, if not moreso.
“It is clear to us that low pressure casting is very much the future of vehicle chassis manufacture as it allows the mass production of hollow castings which the more common high pressure casting is unable to do,” explained Evans.