Assessing the Total Vehicle Impact of Alternative Body Technologies
This paper will explore the extended impact of advanced body technologies in two ways; laterally, by potentially reducing the requirements of other vehicle systems and horizontally, in terms of the life cycle costs of operation. Variants of Steel, Aluminum, and polymer composite designs will be explored. Traditional cost model projections of direct manufacturing costs and mass will be compared with the impact of functional system interrelationships and vehicle performance in order to assess the total vehicle costs and benefits of alternative systems. This analytical approach can give material suppliers and automakers a framework for understanding the various cost tradeoffs in the use of alternative material systems for automotive bodies-in-white, in terms of total cost, mass, and fuel economy. Through this understanding, better decisions about how best to invest development resources can be made.