Automotive Engineering - April 2021 - 8

TECHNOLOGY
REPORT
MATERIALS

Aluminum dominates for EV battery enclosures - for now

SAE INTERNATIONAL
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Jeff Hemphill
President
Todd Zarfos
2020 President
Srinivasa (Sri) Srinath, PhD
2022 President Elect
Susan Ying, PhD
Vice President - Aerospace
Ken Washington, PhD
Vice President - Automotive

Aluminum battery
enclosures or other
platform parts typically
provide a weight savings
of 40% compared to an
equivalent steel design.

Michael Weinert
Vice President -
Commercial Vehicle
Andrew Jeffers
Treasurer
David L. Schutt, PhD
Chief Executive Officer
Gregory L. Bradley, Esq.
Secretary
Pascal Joly

8 April 2021

battery enclosures are of the 6000-series AlSi-Mg-Cu family, Afseth shared, noting that
these alloys are " very well compatible " with
end-of-life recycling. The current state-of-theart solution for bottom plates is high-strength
6111 alloy in peak aged temper, which reduces
weight by 30% compared to the benchmark
5754 O-temper alloy.
Constellium has a 4xxx alloy in development
with 80-GPa E-modulus and 350-MPa yield
stress. A 40% weight reduction is " technically
feasible " with the developmental 4xxx alloy.
" You can think of this high-modulus 4000 series alloy as a 'very excess' silicon 6000 series
alloy, " Afseth said, noting that gauges and
widths will be similar to 6000. It is compatible
with conventional cold forming and is costcompetitive, he said.
A 7075 T6 alloy also is in development, offering offers 500-MPa yield stress and 70-GPa
E-modulus. 7000-series alloys of Al-Zn-Mg-Cu
are not yet widely used in automotive application, he noted. 7000 could be considered for bottom plates where impact resistance is key, but a
point of " diminishing returns " likely will hinder its
use in this application. " At the moment, with the
manufacturing processes needed, this [additional
10% weight savings] benefit probably doesn't
cover the cost of using 7000, " Afseth said.

Jeff Varick
Rhonda Walthall
Joan Wills
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AUTOMOTIVE ENGINEERING

CONSTELLIUM

Aluminum is the dominant material for electric
vehicle (EV) battery enclosures for one simple
but significant factor: lightweighting capability.
All currently available long-range EVs - those
that can travel beyond 250 miles (400 km) -
use aluminum as the main material for the battery enclosure for that very reason, Dr. Andreas
Afseth, technical director for Constellium North
America operations, said during a recent Center
for Automotive Research (CAR) webinar.
" Aluminum continues to be the fastest-growing material in automotive application, " Afseth
said. Growth is driven in part by the increasing
market share of EVs, including electric trucks
and vans, which already employ a greater
amount of aluminum than do conventionalpowertrain models - more than 640 lb (290
kg) in EV platforms compared to about 450 lb
(205 kg) in non-EVs.
" Electric trucks will require very large batteries, maximum payload and minimum energy
consumption (operating costs), " he said. " There
will continue to be a very high value of lightweighting, so I would expect aluminum to be
the material of choice. "
Aluminum battery enclosures or other platform parts typically provide a weight savings
of 40% compared to an equivalent steel design. The most-used and best-suited alloys for


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Automotive Engineering - April 2021

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