Print 74 comment(s) - last by jimbojimbo.. on Mar 26 at 11:57 AM

Body shops face huge costs to gear up and train for aluminum vehicle repairs

Mainstream auto manufactures have used aluminum in the construction of vehicles for a number of years. However, most of the panels on cars and truck were traditionally made from stamped steel, while in some cases hoods and trunk lids were made from aluminum.
With Ford rolling out the all-new F-150 that uses a body made 95 percent from aluminum, the future looks expensive for body shops charged with fixing vehicles after an accident. Reports indicate the costs of tools and training at body shops could soar.

The Aud A8 has been primarily constucted of aluminum for nearly two decades
That would lead to labor rates at the shops rising as well, leading to more costly repairs. Ford is blazing the trial into mainstream vehicles made mostly of aluminum, but other manufactures will follow. Making broader use of aluminum to reduce the weight of vehicle is one of the big ways that automakers plan to meet CAFE standards handed down by the White House.
Some body shops will have to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in new training and equipment to be able to repair the aluminum used in Ford trucks. Smaller body shops might not be able to justify the cost, which could be a big benefit to dealer-owned body shops.
“Not every shop in America will be equipped to repair the new F-150,” said Dan Risley, president of the Automotive Service Association. “It’s cost prohibitive because there aren’t a lot of vehicles on the road with aluminum, so the return on investment could take a few years. When you throw aluminum into the mix, everything changes.”

The 2015 Ford F-150 will be the first mainstream vehicle to make wide use of aluminum throughout its body structure
He says that less than 20 percent of body shops will be equipped to fix aluminum body structures. Shops certified to fix high-end European brands like Porsche, Jaguar, and Audi cars that are used to working with aluminum will be the best ready to deal with the influx of new aluminum vehicles needing repairs.
Ford is not the only company that will employ extensive use of aluminum in full-size pickup trucks. General Motors announced last month that its next generation Silverado and Sierra will use the lightweight material.

Source: Detroitnews

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By Motoman on 3/24/2014 10:55:15 AM , Rating: 3
Aluminum has many advantages when compared to steel...but it's not nearly as resilient to flexing in a sheet - like a body panel.

With a steel body panel, you can dent the f%ck out of it and hammer it back out...will look fine. But aluminum? You're gonna have a crease if not an actual hole.

You'll love your aluminum panels for the weight mildly irritated with them for the extra purchase cost...and absolutely hate them when you wind up replacing them instead of getting standard body work done.

RE: Yup
By BRB29 on 3/24/2014 11:05:22 AM , Rating: 3
That depends on how thick the aluminum is. Most of the time, aluminum used is not as thick as steel used so damaging it is easier.

Besides that, I agree with you. However, I think the pros far outweighs the cons. Most of us can care less to fix a door ding. Major damage doesn't exactly happen every year for most people. Even minor damage doesn't happen that often.

The lower weight should really help with safety in collision. If every car lose 500 lbs, we would see a massive increase in survival rates when accidents occur. We would also see a substantial fuel economy gain as well. Maintenance costs should also be lower as things will tend to break or wear out less.

RE: Yup
By FITCamaro on 3/24/14, Rating: -1
RE: Yup
By Argon18 on 3/24/2014 11:38:24 AM , Rating: 5
"Yeah until a semi hits you and tears through you. Or a dump truck. Or any other larger vehicle."

You're right, we should all be driving dump trucks. That's the solution. Facepalm.

Or maybe you meant that the old all-steel F-150 would keep you save in a collision with a dump truck? A dump truck weighs between 13 and 27 tons. That's 26,000 pounds and 54,000 pounds. Do you honestly think a few hundred pounds difference in 4,000 pound F-150 would affect the collision outcome at all, vs. a 54,000 pound dump truck? Really?

You're an idiot.

RE: Yup
By BZDTemp on 3/24/14, Rating: -1
RE: Yup
By Camikazi on 3/24/2014 2:17:23 PM , Rating: 5
In the US a ton is 2000 lbs so he is right since that is the measurement they are most likely using. Also, even using a long ton measurement you are wrong since 2,240 (long ton weight in lbs) x 13 - 29,120 lbs and 2,240 x 27 = 60480. Unless you mean a metric ton in which case you are right, but you are so smart assuming he was wrong without even checking to see if maybe there are differences in the units.

RE: Yup
By BZDTemp on 3/24/2014 7:13:19 PM , Rating: 2
I stand corrected and should go eat some humble pie.

I should have checked and not just presumed. The thing is I'm actually so used to see people here using metric units and the German pound and overlooking that the pound used in the UK/US and many other places is different. Since the German pound is 1/2000 of a metric ton I simply thought that here was a case of a wrong conversion from metric ton to UK/US pound.

RE: Yup
By StevoLincolnite on 3/24/2014 7:33:04 PM , Rating: 5
You would hate to fly a plane then.
You have knots, pounds, kilo's, liters, gallons, kilometers, miles, you name it all mixed together and the pilots need to understand all the measurements.

It would just be easier if the USA and UK caught up to the rest of the developed world and ditched imperial and went fully metric.

RE: Yup
By alpha754293 on 3/24/2014 3:49:37 PM , Rating: 1

"To avoid confusion with the smaller short ton and the slightly larger long ton, it is also known as a metric ton in the United States."

Source. wiki, "tonne". (SI unit for 1000 kg)

RE: Yup
By Samus on 3/25/2014 1:56:53 AM , Rating: 3
Physics will easily prove your theory of bigger and heavier is safer completely false.

Creative scientific research, new-age materials and intelligent engineering make vehicles safer, not simply weight.

There are dozens of instances where weight will actually decrease safety, specifically by extending braking distances, reducing handling, increasing potential rollover, and so on...

Go look up a crash test of an old vehicle vs a new vehicle in a head-on collision. A common one comes to mind from Fifth Gear: 2000 Ford Focus head-on with an 85' Volvo 240DL (once considered the safest car on the road.)

RE: Yup
By atechfan on 3/25/2014 5:16:24 AM , Rating: 2
They should make cars out of memory phone. They would completely deform in a crash, protecting the occupants with their soft, foamy goodness. Then a few minutes after the crash, they would revert to their original shape, allowing you to continue on your way, completely eliminating the need for repairs.

Yes, I know, I'm a genius. Nobel dudes, I'm expecting a call.

RE: Yup
By bcrules82 on 3/24/2014 11:42:59 AM , Rating: 1
Troll harder can we? Drivers of semi-trailer trucks are professional drivers with ALOT more road time and experience than the average driver. You don't know what you're talking about.

RE: Yup
By Camikazi on 3/24/2014 2:18:28 PM , Rating: 2
They are also rather crazy and scary to ride next to on the highway.

RE: Yup
By BRB29 on 3/24/2014 12:07:42 PM , Rating: 3
Commercial vehicles are for professionals who depend on their license for their career. I'm pretty sure they will try hard to avoid accidents. Little punks with civic coupes or their 99 camaros/firebird seems to think they own the road.

You missed the point completely. If everyone makes/drives lighter cars, everyone will be better off. We'd have less of a trade deficit as well.

RE: Yup
By Jeffk464 on 3/24/2014 12:55:41 PM , Rating: 2
Yup, I'm pretty sure its easier to make a 3000lbs car perform well in crash tests than it is to make a 5500 full size suv. Plus you have the physics of two 3000lbs cars crashing into each other being less energy to dissipate than two 5500lbs SUV's.

RE: Yup
By Dorkyman on 3/24/2014 2:30:16 PM , Rating: 2
But I think this misses the point.

Oh yeah it's great for gas mileage to make "every" car 500lb lighter. But barring an edict from above (even Obama wouldn't dream of such an Executive Order) you're going to be dealing with light cars and regular heavy cars. And the light car will ALWAYS lose.

Like the gun argument. Ban all guns, and deaths will drop. Ah, but what if most people don't have guns but the bad guys decide to keep theirs? Still have a lot of gun deaths.

RE: Yup
By SeeManRun on 3/24/14, Rating: -1
RE: Yup
By FITCamaro on 3/24/2014 3:59:17 PM , Rating: 1
How the heck are lighter vehicles going to lower our trade deficit?

RE: Yup
By laviathan05 on 3/26/2014 10:11:13 AM , Rating: 2
Well, we import a lot of steel from Asia, whereas aluminum comes mainly from North America.

RE: Yup
By jimbojimbo on 3/26/2014 11:57:28 AM , Rating: 2
If everyone makes/drives lighter cars, everyone will be better off
If everyone actually worked instead of sitting on their asses expecting the government to pay for everything we'd all be better off too. If everyone stopped killing each other we'd be better off. Every one of those ifs would make the world better but will never ever happen... well, until all humans were destroyed.

RE: Yup
By bug77 on 3/24/2014 2:10:22 PM , Rating: 1
The "skin" of your car is not a safety element. Though mass, by itself, is. Especially in head-on incidents.

RE: Yup
By Etsp on 3/24/2014 12:33:20 PM , Rating: 2
You might want to rethink your logic in the increase in survival rates thing...

If two cars hit head-on at 2500lbs each, they would have the same rate of deceleration on impact as two cars going the same speed weighing 2000lbs each. The rate of deceleration is what causes injuries in accidents (when the passenger area isn't compromised).

RE: Yup
By moremilk on 3/24/2014 1:56:56 PM , Rating: 2
For one, it's not the deceleration rate that's the main problem, and, also, most accidents are not head-on collisions. Don't have stats, but I would suspect most happen at an angle, it's really difficult to have a head-on collision as most high speed roads have dividers.

and even in a head-on collision, there's a BIG difference between two smart cars colliding and two freight trains, the energy released in the 2nd scenario is many orders of magnitude higher. Even though the kinetic energy gets transferred instantly to your car in both scenarios, you get a heck of a lot more from a heavy vehicle. That energy pushes all sorts of debris towards you at higher speeds and that makes those debris much likelier to cause a fatal injury.

Of course, you are partially right in that any injury caused by sudden loss of velocity will not be significantly different. I don't have any idea what proportion of death causing injuries are external trauma vs internal injuries due to displaced organs (I presume that's what happens when you stop on a dime from high speeds - could be wrong) - empirically I would have thought external trauma is much more likely to kill you.

RE: Yup
By Etsp on 3/24/2014 2:09:00 PM , Rating: 2
You're in the car going 60mph. That car decelerates to 0mph in 0.5 seconds. You're going to be damaged by the seat belts, you're going to be damaged by the air-bag, you're going to be damaged by any of your limbs hitting the dashboard. Possible neck injuries due to whiplash.

The point of air-bags and seat-belts is that it's a LOT less damage than hitting the windshield or steering wheel with your head. Seat belts also enable crumple zones to extend the duration of deceleration.

RE: Yup
By theapparition on 3/24/2014 3:48:59 PM , Rating: 2
Please put down the high school physics book and walk away from the computer.

A crash isn't completely elastic. There are lots of other factors to consider. Even in your example of two cars with the same weight, the different crumple zones can drastically affect on occupants survival over anothers.

RE: Yup
By Etsp on 3/24/2014 3:59:06 PM , Rating: 2
So, if all vehicles on the road were 500lbs lighter, we would see a "massive increase in survival rates when accidents occur" ? I don't believe that's true, and that's the point I was trying to convey.

If you can provide a better argument for why that is/isn't true, feel free to enlighten us.

RE: Yup
By Solandri on 3/24/2014 5:51:11 PM , Rating: 1
All other things being equal, a heavier car will be safer simply because a greater percentage of the weight can be devoted to safety; be it longer crumple zones or stronger passenger cages.

The idea that "vehicles would be safer if they were all lighter" refers to one very specific case. In a head-on collision between a light vehicle and a heavier vehicle moving at the same speed, the lighter vehicle actually bounces backwards.* It winds up traveling in the opposite direction it was before the collision - most of the impact energy is transferred to the smaller vehicle.

If both vehicles had similar weight (you can make the heavier vehicle lighter, or the lighter vehicle heavier), the crash energy is more evenly distributed lowering the chance of injury. This is the first time I've seen half of the solution to that very narrow situation incorrectly overgeneralized to encompass all cars.

* BTW, elastic or inelastic doesn't matter for this result. It's a consequence of both momentum and energy needing to be conserved. The only thing inelasticity affects is how fast the smaller car is moving when it bounces back. In the worst-case (completely elastic collision), it ends up moving backwards faster than it was moving forward before the collision. In the completely inelastic case, its final velocity is based on the sum of the momentum of the two cars, which is backwards for the smaller car since it has less mass.

RE: Yup
By gerf on 3/24/2014 8:26:34 PM , Rating: 2
Given that more mass is safer, and that car weights are generally decreasing, I'm going to increase my mass in the only way I know how.

Eating lots and lots of Big Macs.

RE: Yup
By Mint on 3/25/2014 9:59:24 PM , Rating: 2
I think you're being a little hasty in your conclusion here.

Yes, deceleration rates will be the same with two 2-ton cars or two 2.5-ton cars. But a big part of safety is preventing passenger cell intrusion, and mass unrelated to structural integrity (like body panels) makes a car more deadly for others without being any better at taking a hit.

RE: Yup
By syslog2000 on 3/24/2014 5:54:54 PM , Rating: 2
Not sure if that is entirely accurate. Shouldn't it be the amount of energy that needs to be dissipated that affects the outcome?

Two 2500lb cars will have a lot more joules of energy that need to be dissipated compared to the 2000lb cars.

It follows that the 2000lb crash will cause less damage.

Or am I thinking wrong about this?

RE: Yup
By Solandri on 3/25/2014 1:08:57 PM , Rating: 3
Kinetic energy is 0.5mv^2, so it scales linearly with the car's weight. A 2500 lb car has 25% more kinetic energy as a 2000 lb car, but it also has 25% more mass. So the amount of energy each pound of the car needs to absorb is the same when two 2500 lb cars collide, as when two 2000 lb cars collide.

Where you run into problems is with size. If you double the weight of the car, the metal structures which comprise the crumple zones and safety cage for the passenger compartment need to be doubled in strength. But doubling the strength in one direction isn't enough - it needs to be doubled in all three directions. You end up with 2^3 = 8x the amount of required material. (Actually you don't need quite so much because most collisions are when traveling forward - spin-outs where you hit sideways are rather rare.)

So what you end up with is a bathtub-like curve. Smaller cars are more dangerous because they have insufficient weight allowance for safety features (the minimum being based on the weight of the occupants, which doesn't become smaller just because you've got a smaller car). Really big cars are more dangerous because their mass requires the safety features to take up a greater percentage of the weight, and again have insufficient weight allowance for safety features. And cars in between occupy a happy medium where they're able to fit in the requisite safety features within their weight budget.

If they're switching to lighter materials like aluminum, that says they're already at the lower limit of the weight allowance. So further mandated cuts will increase the temptation to shave a few pounds off the safety structures. This already has already become an issue in the rollover safety test. It's impractical to actually roll the car over to test the strength of its roof, given that there are so many angles at which a rollover could happen (collisions OTOH almost always happen with the car traveling forward). So the government and IIHS made a test which puts pressure on the roof at a certain angle. Another group tried testing at different angles and found the roof performed much worse at those oblique angles, meaning the designers are saving weight by optimizing for the test rather than for real-world situations.

RE: Yup
By Hammer1024 on 3/24/2014 2:02:38 PM , Rating: 5
Yup & yup.

I own a BMW Z3. I had to have the hood replaced rather than repaird because an idiot at a light decided to backup without looking behind them.

First words out of my mouth were "Are you kidding me?!".

The shop first tried to hammer it out... Yeah. RRRrrriiiippp!

So instead of a $700 bill, it went to $2200.

Thankfully, this was on the idiot.

RE: Yup
By Reclaimer77 on 3/25/2014 8:26:20 PM , Rating: 1
The lower weight should really help with safety in collision. If every car lose 500 lbs, we would see a massive increase in survival rates when accidents occur.

This is an asinine statement, no offense. I don't mean you're stupid or anything, it's just this statement is pretty ignorant of the facts and physics.

If your Fiat 500 loses 500 lbs, and the Ford Explorer smashing into you is also 500 lbs less, you haven't changed anything. Your vehicle still suffers from the same proportional mass transfer as before the weight reduction.

Maintenance costs should also be lower as things will tend to break or wear out less.

How is going from steel to aluminum body panels going to cause lower maintenance costs due to thinks breaking less? Please explain that one to me, because it makes no sense.

RE: Yup
By jimbojimbo on 3/26/2014 11:53:50 AM , Rating: 2
If every car lose 500 lbs, we would see a massive increase in survival rates when accidents occur
But that's the problem. A lot of people are buying bigger and heavier cars because they want to survive an accident better than the other person. They will want everybody else to buy lighter cars. That If will never happen because people care just about themselves.
I drive a small sedan and keep a fully stocked first aid kit in the trunk so don't point at me.

RE: Yup
By corduroygt on 3/24/2014 1:27:00 PM , Rating: 2
Best solution is to make body panels out of plastic and just use 3D printers to make a new one :)

RE: Yup
By Hammer1024 on 3/24/2014 2:04:32 PM , Rating: 2
Very, very expensive. 3-D printed parts are NOT cheep.

RE: Yup
By MightyAA on 3/24/2014 4:24:01 PM , Rating: 3
Lol... doesn't sound like many of you have had a fender bender. It's been a long time since they 'hammer it out'. They replace the panel. That's the cost; It cost more, but less than carbon fiber. It lacks the aftermarket replacement part yet. The training? Aluminum doesn't rust, it does electrolysis. So you handle it differently and need to know how. Really, this is no worst than when unibody was introduced and people freaked "What, no frame? It'll fall apart and crack like an eggshell!"

btw; you can hammer aluminum out too. My '73 Landrover is aluminum and I've done the bfr (big f'n rock) body repairs due to rock rash. It's not as delicate of a material as you'd think. You understand engine blocks are often aluminum now right?

RE: Yup
By syslog2000 on 3/24/2014 6:00:19 PM , Rating: 2
While you are correct I should point out that there are many different aluminum alloys with quite a bit of variation in properties.

The aluminum in an engine block is a pretty different animal than the one the body is made from.

RE: Yup
By Motoman on 3/24/2014 8:10:33 PM , Rating: 2
You're clueless. Really, you're going to compare an engine block to the wafer-thin body panel?

I've seen and worked with plenty of sheet metal. And the irrefutable fact of the matter is that a body-panel thin sheet of aluminum is nowhere near as resilient as a comparable steel panel.

Also, you're infinitely wrong on "they just replace the panel." Sure, if you're really munched it...but there's more repairing of the original piece than just ripping it off and putting on a new panel.

RE: Yup
By MightyAA on 3/25/2014 7:39:41 PM , Rating: 2
Of coarse there are differences in grades in aluminum. I just said 'engine block' because it seems like most people here are thinking pop can and how easily it's crushed. You even allude to 'wafer thin' like it's a sheet of tin foil. Most wheels are a aluminum blend now too. Oh no, they'll crush I tell ya... And although you can get them straightened, it'll probably cost just as much just to replace them if you hit a pothole too hard.

And of coarse it's not as easy as just popping off a panel and slapping on a new one. But the arguments seemed to be headed into this idea of some guy with a hammer pounding away to remove dents. That's not how it's done for anything more than a door ding.

RE: Yup
By inperfectdarkness on 3/25/2014 6:40:15 AM , Rating: 2
Until 3D printing matures. When that happens, you'll be able to print a door panel almost on the fly...and you'll get a partial refund on your old panel...since it can be used for raw material to make a new one.

RE: Yup
By marvdmartian on 3/25/2014 7:32:14 AM , Rating: 2
Resiliency will depend on thickness and the type of aluminum they use. Some alloys are better at being shaped, some resist it more.

Bottom line, though, I'm sure Ford will utilize the cheapest aluminum alloy they can get away with. Doubtful they'd want the expense of some of the nicer airframe alloys out there, both because it would drive the consumer's price way up, but also because it would put a dent (no pun intended) in their profits.

No free lunch
By Shadowmaster625 on 3/24/2014 11:07:42 AM , Rating: 3
The idea of replacing steel panels with aluminum panels on the F-150, given the backdrop of peak oil, is about as absurd as the vehicle itself. If these are the kinds of solutions these companies have to offer, then it is going to be a long, slow, agonizingly idiotic trip down the back side of the oil production bell curve.

RE: No free lunch
By chromal on 3/24/2014 11:30:00 AM , Rating: 2
The idea is that conservation is a good idea regardless of supply-v-demand this month, even if you aren't convinced by evidence presented for antropogenic climate change.

RE: No free lunch
By Argon18 on 3/24/2014 11:30:31 AM , Rating: 1
"is about as absurd as the vehicle itself."

Drivers of crappy Toyota Pious and their ilk love to bash large vehicles, while failing to acknowledge basic arithmetic. Moving a vehicle owner from a 15 mpg truck/SUV to a 20 mpg truck/suv saves way way more fuel, than moving a vehicle owner from a 32 mpg sedan to a 45 mpg Pious. Or from a 45 mpg Pious to an overpriced Tesla.

Seeing as the Ford F series pickups are the #1 best selling vehicles in America, focus efforts to improve fuel economy of this model is the #1 most effective way to save the most fuel.

But facts won't deter the left-wing extremists from trying to force their confused Eco-Nazi agenda on the rest of us.

RE: No free lunch
By Etsp on 3/24/2014 12:44:07 PM , Rating: 3
For the curious:

Fuel used to go 1000 miles:

15mpg: 66.66 Gallons
20mpg: 50.0 Gallons
Saved: 16.66 Gallons of fuel

32mpg: 31.25 Gallons
45mpg: 22.22 Gallons
Saved: 9.03 Gallons of fuel

Tesla: 0 Gallons + Higher Electricity bills
Saved: 31.25 Gallons of fuel - Electricity costs

RE: No free lunch
By Hammer1024 on 3/24/14, Rating: 0
RE: No free lunch
By Etsp on 3/24/2014 2:31:52 PM , Rating: 2
All of those plants that generate electricity using hydrocarbons (Coal and NG) are MUCH more efficient at using that energy than a variable-speed internal combustion engine is.

Not to mention that much of the pollution that results can be captured/filtered at that scale too.

Also, I'm very much pro nuclear power. It's far and away the lowest impact means of producing electricity we have, so long as we're constantly pushing towards using more modern designs, instead of extending the life of 40+ year old plants (and don't let the safety regulators get buddy-buddy with the plant owners/operators).

Finally, the metric he was using was FUEL. Not pollution. I just did the math. Fuel consumption of an electric vehicle would vary widely depending on where it was charged, so I didn't do the math for it.

You should probably try to calm down and back off on the hostility.

RE: No free lunch
By Solandri on 3/24/2014 3:29:09 PM , Rating: 2
All of those plants that generate electricity using hydrocarbons (Coal and NG) are MUCH more efficient at using that energy than a variable-speed internal combustion engine is.

Coal and NG plants are more efficient, but not much more efficient. You're talking about 45% for coal and 50%-60% efficiency for NG vs 30% for an ICE. The variable speed part mostly cancels out. Yes an ICE is less efficient outside its peak hp or torque range (depending on how it's tuned). But electric motors are also less efficient outside their best-tuned speed range.

The vast majority of the reason EVs are cheaper to operate than ICE vehicles is not because of efficiency. It's because coal is so much cheaper per Joule than gasoline.

A short ton of coal is about $60 and contains about 24 MJ/kg, or about 0.28 cents per MJ. Most of the cost to run a coal-burning plant is the equipment and personnel, not the fuel.

A gallon of gasoline is about $3.50 and contains about 120 MJ/gal, or 2.9 cents per MJ. An order of magnitude more expensive than coal.

If you don't believe me just look at Hawaii, which burns fuel oil for most of their electricity. That drives their electricity prices up to about $0.35/kWh vs $0.12/kWh for the rest of the country. The EPA rates the Tesla at $540/yr assuming 15k miles per year and $0.12/kWh electricity prices. Consequently the cost to operate a Tesla in Hawaii would be $1575/yr in electricity, which is the same as for a 33 MPG ICE vehicle at $3.50/gal.

An equivalent ICE sedan would probably get about 25 MPG. So the EV-ness of the Tesla only accounts for bumping it up from about 25 MPG to 33 MPG. The rest of the jump - from 33 MPGe to the 119 MPGe the EPA rates it at - is entirely due to coal being so cheap. (Or since I advocate using the inverse, the ICE sedan is 4 gal/100 mi, the Tesla is 3 gal-equiv/100 mi, and the EPA rating is 0.84 gal-equiv/100 mi. So 32% of the savings is due to the EV-ness, 68% due to coal being so much cheaper.)

RE: No free lunch
By superPC on 3/24/2014 9:20:34 PM , Rating: 2
Although I agree with you, remember that 25 to 33 MPG is an increase of 24% in fuel usage.

It all comes down to scale. 24% for a single person doesn't mean much. But for a whole country? How about for the rest of the world? In the past 30 years of jet aviation, fuel efficiency in jet engine only increases about as much ( ) but ticket prices has fallen by more than 200%. We now pay less for transatlantic flight than our father did even after inflation.

RE: No free lunch
By Mint on 3/25/2014 10:29:07 PM , Rating: 2
Hawaii is going to go completely solar very quickly with electricity prices that high. Even stationary battery storage becomes viable at that price.

Such markets will be the target of Tesla's gigafactory allied with Solar City.

RE: No free lunch
By Keeir on 3/24/2014 3:13:10 PM , Rating: 3
Or maybe he lives where the power is from a hydroelectric dam?

Or how about this uncomforable current method....

In the process of refining gasoline, approx. 5 kWh of Natural Gas is used as a heat source per gallon in your car (Argonne Natural Lab.). The same 5 kWh of Natural Gas can deliever upto 2 kWh into the battery of a Tesla (EIA for Nat Gas power plant efficieny, grid efficiney, and Tesla for charging efficiney). 2kWh allows a car like a Tesla Model S to travel 6-10 miles.

In 25 MPG car like a BMW 5/7 Series to go 100 miles requires

134 kWh of Gas + 30 kWh of Gas to disbute from Refinery + 20 kWh of Natural Gas to Refine + "X" amount of energy to get the Oil/NG to the refinery

Total: 184 kWh of "Fossil Fuels" + X amount of additional energy

In a Telsa Model S to go 100 miles requires

20 kWh of electricity + 5 kWh of electricity to charge + 2 kWh of electricity to dist. + "X" amount of energy to get Coal/NG/Nuclear/ETC to power plant.

27 kWh of electricity can be made from EITHER
~82 kWh of Coal
~50 kWh of NG
~67 kWh of Fuel Oil #2 (requires 10 kWh of NG to Refine)

No matter how you slice it, the Tesla Model S consumes Fossil Fuels at rates between 1/2 to 1/3 of the traditional gasoline models, even when 100% power by coal.

Essentially a Model S powered by Coal is equal to a Prius powered by gasoline (In use). Which would you rather drive?

RE: No free lunch
By FaaR on 3/24/2014 1:18:54 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah, to hell with those 'echo nazis' for trying to make this planet a better place to live.

You, Sir, are a damned fool.

RE: No free lunch
By bug77 on 3/24/2014 2:07:22 PM , Rating: 3
Much of the money spent on EV research is money NOT spent on health or education. So making "this planet a better place to live" is a little debatable if you consider the bigger picture.

RE: No free lunch
By ven1ger on 3/24/2014 2:37:51 PM , Rating: 2
Well, let's look at the bigger picture. Investing in EV research means that we have alternatives to just using up our natural resources that is being depleted leaving less for our descendants. Using alternatives like EV helps keep the air cleaner.

So, what's your debate, again?

RE: No free lunch
By TSS on 3/24/2014 6:17:27 PM , Rating: 2
Considering what i'm hearing coming out of the US on the topics of health and education, more or less money, research or otherwise isn't going to make a difference. How the money currently allocated to those 2 is utilized is a much bigger issue. In those paticular cases the money is better spent on EV's.

That said though, making "this planet" a better place to live, none of the above subjects will have any impact what so ever. On the US, maybe, but even that is a stretch at this point. Most likely they'll improve the lives of the few families who either own the companies who have patents or provide health/education services. As i said, how the money is spent is a much bigger issue then the amount.

RE: No free lunch
By Mint on 3/25/2014 10:13:46 PM , Rating: 2
Americans spend almost half a trillion dollars per year on gasoline. An MIT study pegs ~50k premature deaths a year on vehicle pollution, and many times more illnesses. A few billion on research/subsidies over the course of a decade to get the ball rolling on reducing both of those figures is a very worthwhile goal.

Think about how much more coal we would be burning (and all its associated health issues) if we didn't invest in nuclear research.

RE: No free lunch
By Mint on 3/25/2014 10:27:12 PM , Rating: 2
LOL on what planet is a Tesla a substitute for a Prius?

The Model S has the performance and room of full-sized performance sedans that get ~20 MPG combined. You statement about Tesla vs Prius was already wrong, as Etsp showed above, but compared to a 650i, CLS550, S7, etc the savings are more than doubled.

RE: No free lunch
By BRB29 on 3/24/2014 12:09:33 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think you realize how much other countries love our refined fuel right now. Yes, we're one of the largest exporters of refined fuel in the world.

We only import crude oil.

This is an over exaggeration IMO.
By GotThumbs on 3/24/2014 11:58:56 AM , Rating: 2
I find it very hard to believe that it will actually take thousands of hours to learn to work with the new materials.

One, when possible, shops will simply replace the dented fender with a completely new part, just as they do now. Recycle the old one....done.

Also steel aftermarket panels could be an option as well. Ford is only doing this to meet the EPA's new standards. Once you own the vehicle...its not an issue IMO.

Just seems like a chicken little story IMO, but time will tell. Of course I won't be owning any of these vehicles anyway, so its a non-issue for me.

~Best wishes keeping what you earned.

By GotThumbs on 3/24/2014 11:59:39 AM , Rating: 2
Just a way shops will justify charging more $$$.

RE: This is an over exaggeration IMO.
By BRB29 on 3/24/2014 12:13:16 PM , Rating: 2
The reason why body shops charge a lot of money for aluminum body work is demand and supply. Both are low.

If every vehicle are aluminum then more people will be trained to work with it. Tools and machines will be made in mass scale for aluminum. Things will get cheaper. As of right now, only expensive cars aluminum like Jaguar.

RE: This is an over exaggeration IMO.
By ven1ger on 3/24/2014 2:44:43 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds about right.

Cars before used to have fiberglass and material wasn't really malleable and in collisions, the fiberglass panels would have to be replaced.

By CBRworm on 3/25/2014 11:42:20 AM , Rating: 2
The reality is that there are already a lot of cars that have aluminum panels, and have for years.

I had to have the hood of my 8 year old infiniti fixed and repainted a couple years ago out of pocket due to not wanting to do an insurance claim. I went to a great shop and had the job done right without any drama or obscene expense.

They seem to have been able to make some kind of filler stick and I can still see no evidence of where it is. The biggest issue that they told me was that they had to strip and respray the entire hood due to it being aluminum.

Maybe Ford people won't want to go to a higher end body shop, but the shops certainly exist that can work with this newfangled material.

Great Scott!
By jardows on 3/24/2014 12:23:57 PM , Rating: 2
"He's in a '46 Ford. We're in a DeLorean. He'd rip through us like we were tin foil."

RE: Great Scott!
By shadow002 on 3/24/2014 2:00:52 PM , Rating: 2
There is a huge advantage that no one here has mentioned yet....Aluminum doesn't rust like steel and if i'm not mistaken, Audi still offers a 25 year warranty for the models that are built with aluminum, like the A8 sadan.

So for the folks living way up north where winters can be brutal and the use of road salt/abrasives used in mass quantities to keep roads drivable, but eat thru steel like nobody's business and becomes visible once the car in question is 5 years old on average, aluminum will be appreciated i'm sure.

RE: Great Scott!
By Dr K on 3/24/2014 2:26:07 PM , Rating: 2
You can make a general statement that aluminum is better than steel with respect to corrosion, but it really depends on the specifics. Corrosion of aluminum depends on the specific alloy, the component it is used for and the environmental conditions -- the same is true for steels as well. The oxidation product for Aluminum is white/gray instead of orange like rust, which makes it much less noticeable, and in some cases it creates a self sealing layer on the surface that can prevent additional corrosion from taking place.

RE: Great Scott!
By shadow002 on 3/24/2014 2:40:41 PM , Rating: 3
Well since quite a lot of parts inside the car are aluminum, such as suspension parts, sub frames and engine and transmission and all of those remain in perfect working order even well after the steel body panels have started to rust, I think they got that worked out pretty well.

Same goes for planes where they employ a huge amount of aluminum on the outside of the plane and in the structure, and they're rated to fly for 25 years in terms of the structure of the plane without corrosion or metal fatigue.

I think they know which alloys to pick...

You mean..
By ciparis on 3/24/2014 11:33:11 AM , Rating: 2
Bondo doesn't stick to aluminum, eh? Pity... now the crude bastards will have to fix things properly.

RE: You mean..
By Zaranthos on 3/24/2014 11:43:00 AM , Rating: 2
Bondo® products adhere well to metal and aluminum.

RE: You mean..
By Avatar28 on 3/24/2014 11:55:44 AM , Rating: 2
Bondo® products adhere well to metal and aluminum.

TIL aluminum is not metal.

Ford, GM and aluminum!
By ihateu3 on 3/24/2014 4:49:06 PM , Rating: 2
This is great, recycling!!!

Ford and GM have finally found a way to utilize their workers beer cans, and keep them out of the cars at the same time.

Build the car out of auto workers beer cans, GENIUS!

In theory, this should actually lower their raw material costs, by utilizing this abundant flow of aluminum. It was right in front of their eyes the whole time!

RE: Ford, GM and aluminum!
By gerf on 3/24/2014 8:51:45 PM , Rating: 2
I've been to a few UAW shops, and there aren't as many people drinking at work or at lunch anymore. Sure, you get the regulars, but not nearly as many people can cover for each other while the other goes to the bar.

And I haven't heard of on-site brothels in recent memory.

So yeah, things are getting "better"!

Ford aluminum truck
By Richard875yh5 on 3/26/2014 8:29:54 AM , Rating: 2
It says GM will also use it. GM is already using it for hoods and trunk lids. Also, GM has a patent on spot welding parts together.

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

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