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Aluminium - powering the future of mobility

Vedanta Aluminium
Aluminium - powering the future of mobility

The demand for aluminium in electric vehicle manufacturing is set to increase in coming years. This will present new opportunities and responsibilities for global leaders of aluminium industries

The global shift from traditional vehicles to electric vehicles (EVs) has picked up pace in recent years. Rapid technological innovations in the automotive industry have led to manufacturers rolling out EVs in all segments — from hatchbacks to SUVs — almost every other week. According to experts, EVs are the future of mobility as they could potentially revolutionize how energy is used, created, and redirected. The increasing sales of these vehicles in several global markets proves that we now have a viable alternative to internal combustion engines, with the added benefit of having a positive effect on the environment and on society at large. Studies suggest that ramping up the adoption of EVs can also improve public health and lead to long-term economic benefits.

Tried and tested

For over a century, automakers have relied on aluminium for manufacturing. Reports suggest that the first sports car with an aluminum body was launched way back in 1899 at the Berlin International Motor Show. A couple of years later, Carl Benz, the co-founder of the Mercedes Benz brand, built the first ever aluminum engine. Even though cost and metalworking constraints prevented widespread use of the metal in automobile manufacturing for nearly half a century, things changed for the good in the 20th century, as automakers realized the many benefits of using aluminium. 

As automakers across the globe minimize the use of internal combustion engines (ICEs), and opt for battery-powered vehicles including hybrid and full-electric designs, the demand for aluminum will only increase, and aluminium smelters around the world need to be prepared to match that demand. Global leaders of aluminium industries are stepping up to the challenge. Currently, aluminum is the second most used metal in the auto industry, next only to steel. The high preference for aluminium is backed by its many qualities, which include being:

  • Lightweight
  • Strong 
  • Flexible 
  • Malleable 
  • Conductive
  • Reflective
  • Resistant to corrosion

Efficiency multiplier

Just like traditional vehicles, aluminium will play a significant role in making EVs cost-effective and more efficient. Since vehicles that are lighter require lesser power to cover a certain distance, the use of aluminium in EV body components, battery packs, enclosure frames, battery cables, shock towers, internal panels, and cabin heaters will make them more energy efficient. Further, the metal will ensure a lower cost of production and design flexibility, thereby enabling carmakers to innovate and come up with more affordable and exciting models. Being a low-carbon material, aluminium will make EVs more environment friendly, not only at the production stage but even when they are running on roads and highways.

According to an analysis by CRU, a research firm offering business intelligence on metals, mining, and fertilizer industries globally, aluminium manufacturers are likely to have their hands full soon, as the demand for the metal to manufacture EVs will be around 10 million tonnes by 2030 — a ten-fold jump from 2017. The analysis suggests that aluminium manufacturers will be witnessing a sharp increase in the use of primary aluminium, extrusions and rolled products. By the end of this decade, there will be at least 40 million EVs on roads, accounting for nearly 30% of the entire vehicle fleet globally. 

New trend, new opportunities, and responsibilities

As the post-pandemic scenario witnesses the gradual economic recovery of nations, the use of aluminium in electric vehicle manufacturing is expected to accelerate in the next few years. Slowly, but steadily, aluminium, which is significantly lighter than steel, is becoming the metal of choice for automakers. The trend is unmistakable, and it will create new opportunities for global leaders of aluminium industries like Rusal, Rio Tinto, Glencore, Vedanta Aluminium, among others. 

The largest producer of aluminium in India, Vedanta Aluminium is well prepared to support this transition. The company is also among the largest producers of power in the country and is acknowledged to be a global leader in top quality aluminium products and alloys that find critical applications in core industries, including the automotive sector. Vedanta Aluminium has world-class aluminium smelters with captive power plants in the states of Odisha and Chhattisgarh. Its aluminium smelter at Jharsuguda, Odisha is one of the world’s largest. 

The company places good governance and sustainable development at the core of its strategy. With the guiding principles of ‘Zero Harm, Zero Waste & Zero Discharge’, Vedanta Aluminium is committed to delivering sustainable and responsible growth, boosting the Indian economy and the global aluminium industry by harnessing natural resources, turning them into tools of prosperity, and creating value for national and international consumers. 

As we progress into the era of EV-powered mobility, like Vedanta Aluminium, aluminium manufacturers around the world will have the responsibility to scale up production, while ensuring sustainable operations, so that the larger cause of positively impacting the world is not lost. 

Vedanta Aluminium
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