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GM plays catchup in the aluminum game

We’ve all heard about the 2015 Ford F-150 and the fact that its aluminum diet allowed it to lose 700 pounds. While the ladder frame of the all-new F-150 is still constructed of high-strength steel, 95 percent of its body structure made of “high-strength, military-grade, aluminum alloys” according to Ford.
So Ford has gone to aluminum to reduce weight and thus improve fuel economy. Chrysler has gone a completely different route by providing a new V6 diesel engine for the half-ton Ram 1500. So that leaves the industry looking to General Motors to provide a counterpunch in the full-size pickup fuel efficiency wars.
We are now learning that General Motors will take the Ford approach by using aluminum for the body of its next generation Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size trucks. According to The Wall Street Journal, GM’s hand has been forced by increasingly stringent fuel economy standards (and of course market pressure from rivals).

2014 Chevrolet Silverado
According to the WSJ report, GM is partnering with both Alcoa and Novelis to supply aluminum sheets for its next generation trucks. As we reported earlier this month, Ford has already inked a deal with Novelis to supply aluminum sheets for its F-150.
“There’s isn’t an automotive manufacturer that makes vehicles in North America that we’re not talking to,” said Tom Boney, head of North American automotive business for Novelis, in an interview with The Detroit News. “Our customers will be making announcements fairly regularly over the next six years that will transform the automobile industry.”
GM last redesigned the Silverado/Sierra in 2013 for the 2014 model year.

Source: Wall Street Journal/Reuters

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Resonant Frequency.
By drycrust3 on 2/19/2014 2:48:20 PM , Rating: 2
While the ladder frame of the all-new F-150 is still constructed of high-strength steel, 95 percent of its body structure made of “high-strength, military-grade, aluminum alloys” according to Ford.

I was behind one of those high end small motor scooters' that have mag wheels, an alloy frame, an aluminium engine, etc and almost no steel in it at the lights a few months back, and the lights wouldn't change to green. After a few minutes it was obvious the electromagnetic resonant traffic light sensor wasn't detecting her cycle. I got out of my bus and went and asked the lady if she'd move forward onto the cyclist's priority spot (in New Zealand we have a space at the front of many lanes for cyclists), so leaving the space over the electric coil for a vehicle made with a metal that alters the resonant frequency of the coil, e.g. the steel in my bus.
One of the managers at my work has bought a new scooter as well, and when I asked him if he had trouble with traffic lights detecting him, he said he had noticed they did, but didn't know why, so I pointed out the reasons why (alloy mag wheels, aluminium engine casing, possible alloy cycle chassis, etc) as he was unaware that a high aluminium alloy content in a vehicle can result in unreliable detection by the traffic lights.
One of the motorcyclists at work said it was very common problem at work, and that you need to cut diagonally over the electromagnetic resonant sensor so the small amount of steel in the cycle (e.g. disc brakes, cycle stand, etc) has a better chance of changing the resonant frequency. I'm not sure if that is true, but it sounds plausible, but it is also something a larger vehicle like a car or truck won't be able to do.
The point being is that our traffic light systems (well, those in New Zealand anyway, and quite likely the rest of the world) require vehicles to have enough resonant frequency altering metal (e.g. steel) in them that they can reliably be detected by traffic lights or the owners of those vehicles are in for a lot of long and frustrating waiting at red lights.

RE: Resonant Frequency.
By Jeffk464 on 2/19/2014 2:57:33 PM , Rating: 2
Yup, sometimes if there is nobody coming up behind you on a motorcycle you just have to run the red.

RE: Resonant Frequency.
By lagomorpha on 2/19/2014 3:10:57 PM , Rating: 2
That's not an aluminum problem, that's a motorcycle problem. Most traffic lights will detect my motorcycle even though it has almost no iron in it but a few will not (mostly left-turn signals for some reason).

Something the size of a truck, even if it's mostly aluminum should have no trouble being picked up by induction loops in the road. They aren't just detecting ferrous metals, aluminum will be detected as well (otherwise metal detectors couldn't detect aluminum). There are even some calibrated to pick up bicycles but I kind of doubt they work on carbon fiber cycles.

RE: Resonant Frequency.
By Dr of crap on 2/20/2014 12:26:54 PM , Rating: 2
WRONG. The reason the motocycle/scooter doesn't "trip" the light is the smaller amount of metal used. Its not the aluminum. The sensors for the lights are set for the bigger vehicles and not for the smaller 2 wheeled vehicles.

Here after a period of time, or if your turning left and you go through two light changes and and you don't get a green for you cycle, you can go through the red and the law says that's ok.

RE: Resonant Frequency.
By Manch on 2/21/2014 3:10:02 AM , Rating: 2
You can buy a small metal plate for your motorcycle/scotter that will help with this. Some states have laws that allow you to treat these intersections as a 4way stop.

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