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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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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.

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