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Technical Paper

A Methodology for Evaluating Body Architecture Concepts Using Technical Cost Modeling

The ability to make accurate decisions concerning early body-in-white architectures is critical to an automaker since these decisions often have long term cost and weight impacts. We address this need with a methodology which can be used to assist in body architecture decisions using process-based technical cost modeling (TCM) as a filter to evaluate alternate designs. Despite the data limitations of early design concepts, TCM can be used to identify key trends for cost-effectiveness between design variants. A compact body-in-white architecture will be used as a case study to illustrate this technique. The baseline steel structure will be compared to several alternate aluminum intensive structures in the context of production volume.
Technical Paper

Modeling Costs and Fuel Economy Benefits of Lightweighting Vehicle Closure Panels

This paper illustrates a methodology in which complete material-manufacturing process cases for closure panels, reinforcements, and assembly are modeled and compared in order to identify the preferred option for a lightweight closure design. First, process-based cost models are used to predict the cost of lightweighting the closure set of a sample midsized sports utility vehicle (SUV) via material and process substitution. Weight savings are then analyzed using a powertrain simulation to understand the impact of lightweighting on fuel economy. The results are evaluated in the context of production volume and total mass change.
Journal Article

An Assessment of the Rare Earth Element Content of Conventional and Electric Vehicles

Rare earths are a group of elements whose availability has been of concern due to monopolistic supply conditions and environmentally unsustainable mining practices. To evaluate the risks of rare earths availability to automakers, a first step is to determine raw material content and value in vehicles. This task is challenging because rare earth elements are used in small quantities, in a large number of components, and by suppliers far upstream in the supply chain. For this work, data on rare earth content reported by vehicle parts suppliers was assessed to estimate the rare earth usage of a typical conventional gasoline engine midsize sedan and a full hybrid sedan. Parts were selected from a large set of reported parts to build a hypothetical typical mid-size sedan. Estimates of rare earth content for vehicles with alternative powertrain and battery technologies were made based on the available parts' data.