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Electrification of the automotive market – consequences for the foundry industry

Electrification of the automotive market – consequences for the foundry industry

market insights

June 20, 2018

As the electrification of the car market continues, more and more electric vehicles (EVs) are sold in today’s world, the foundries producing automotive parts have to ask themselves what impacts arise from this development.

One of the most important consequences of a rising share of electric vehicles is a reduction in combustion engines required in the future. This means less demand for iron and aluminum castings as well as a different approach to the rest of the car construction. Today the impact is relatively low. But in the next ten years the EV market is projected to grow significantly resulting in an expected annual sales volume of at least 10 million EVs worldwide by 2026.

Powertrain S class

This traditional combustion engine concept has over 2,000 moving parts

As the combustion engine gets replaced by batteries and electric motors, many different parts of a car become obsolete. Take the example of the engine block. It weighs on average 60 kg if it is made out of iron and 30 kg if it is made out of aluminum. We can see that the impact per ten million EVs, which is the expected sales volume for EVs p.a. for 2026, is a reduction of 600,000 tons of iron or 300,000 tons of aluminum castings. This is a huge impact for the foundry industry as in addition to these parts several others like turbochargers or exhaust manifolds will become obsolete.

tesla powertrain

The powertrain for EVs is much simpler – only 18 parts are moving

A problem that car OEMs will face is the increasing weight of the EVs with their heavy batteries. Therefore, the shift from iron to aluminum parts will continue and other lightweight materials will get involved more often. New manufacturing methods like 3D printing will play an increasing role as they allow lighter constructions that are more stable. This development is still in an early phase, especially for metal parts, but 3D metal printers are already used for car part manufacturing like for the Bugatti Chiron. Foundries that want to prepare for the future should become more open for innovation to strengthen their market position as the automotive market gets disrupted. The electrification of the car market is therefore important for the foundry industry!