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Lightweight Materials for EV Market: Top Benefits of Lightweighting

Lightweight Materials for EV Market: Top Benefits of Lightweighting


Lightweight technology plays a crucial role in the domain of electric vehicle energy conservation, as lighter vehicles translate to comparatively lesser energy consumed under the same condition. Also, reducing vehicle weight has continued to acquire significant importance among automakers across the world, with electric vehicle manufacturers further pushing for lightweight vehicles. As per Inkwood Research, the global lightweight materials for EV market is projected to grow with a CAGR of 19.17% during the forecast period 2022 to 2030.

For automobile manufacturers, transitioning from the use of metals to non-metallic composite materials offers various opportunities to acquire marginal gains, subsequently leading to more efficient electric vehicles. Aligning with this, some of the most common lightweight materials used in the production of electric vehicles include carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP), polymers, and others. Moreover, the use of such materials can significantly reduce the weight of electric vehicles, thereby increasing their performance, range, and lifespan.

Lightweight Technology: Need of the Hour in the EV Space

Electric vehicles are currently regarded as the ideal way forward in terms of sustainable mobility. However, certain aspects of the present approach toward the development and manufacturing of EVs, in addition to the overall quality of the products, pose significant concerns. While higher prices and inherently bulky constructs are some of the challenges faced by the electric vehicle market, the materials used for manufacturing EVs are arguably not easy on the environment either.

Alternatively, a sustainable and innovative solution in this regard is lightweighting, characterized as an amalgamation of carefully designated composite materials as well as specialized production processes suited for the reduction of the automobile’s weight. Lightweight technology also entails multi-faceted benefits, making it an impactful and revolutionary addition to the EV space. These include –

  • Reduced Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) – Considering the numerous advantages of light electric vehicles (LEVs), the reduced total cost of ownership (TCO) is an essential factor for a diverse range of automobile users, including e-commerce players, individual and fleet owners, as well as 3PLs. A considerable reduction in TCO leads to abridged cost-per-delivery, ultimately regarded as the main value proposition of electric cargo vehicles.
  • Increased Range – A lighter automobile body can accelerate faster than a heavier unit, owing to its lower mass. Therefore, the automotive sector prefers to employ lightweight materials such as magnesium alloys, aluminum alloys, high-strength steel, carbon fiber, and polymer composites in place of cast iron and traditional steel components in order to improve vehicle efficiency and expand the automobile’s range. Additionally, given the potential weight of EV batteries, the rest of the vehicle must be made of lightweight materials to deliver a longer lifespan as well as range.
  • Need for Less Motor Power – Light electric vehicles (LEVs) necessitate relatively lesser motor power for the generation of an equivalent output with a smaller battery pack, consequently contributing to lower costs. However, the use of composite materials can pose several challenges, as well. For instance, while the design is more time-consuming and complicated, it also requires expertise in processes and materials. Accordingly, with the required engineering and suitable design, scalability for mass manufacturing and ease of production is subsequently achieved.
  • Improved Efficiency – Employing lightweight materials plays an essential role in improving efficiency by enhancing the performance-to-weight ratio. Moreover, this factor can also have a direct influence on rider convenience. Since the majority of delivery personnel must complete frequent travels, typically with heavier cargo, LEVs help provide higher cargo capacity, in addition to warranting improved on-road handling and stability.

Furthermore, the increased demand for lightweight materials with the potential to generate lesser emissions has also compelled manufacturers of lightweight materials to develop more sustainable materials. For instance, in April 2022, Volvo Cars made a strategic investment in an innovative Swiss firm, Bcomp, that develops high-performance, lightweight materials based on organic fibers. The use of lighter vehicle structures and smaller-sized batteries minimizes operational costs. This factor, in turn, enables end-users to move towards futuristic, consumer-centric, as well as sustainable vehicles that promote carbon neutrality.

Different Lightweight Material Types in EV Manufacturing

Presently, electric vehicle batteries are heavy and surge the automobile’s weight significantly. As a result, other components of the vehicle must be bulkier in order to handle the extra weight. Since composite components are more robust and lighter, the use of composites in battery production enables manufacturers to slash the weight of other parts of the vehicle, as well. In this regard, the composites segment, under the material type category, is expected to grow with the highest CAGR of 22.09% by 2030.

On the other hand, when combined with metal, composites are also easier to integrate into existing manufacturing lines. Aligning with this, metal is projected to be the dominating material type in the global lightweight materials for EV market during the forecast period, capturing a revenue share of 62.51% in 2021.

Lightweight Materials for EV: Leading Market Trend

Reducing the size of electric vehicle battery packs is one of the key trends observed in the global lightweight materials for EV market. In their overall approach to bettering the performance of electric vehicles, automotive manufacturers are concentrating on various related aspects, in particular, fast-charging batteries for improved autonomy as well as vehicle weight reduction and the power efficacy of engine control systems.

Hence, in order to maintain range with a smaller battery pack, the use of newer lightweight materials is being explored. For example, in designing a battery electric vehicle (BEV), weight reduction is advantageous as it augments the range for the same price or, on the other hand, allows for a smaller battery and engine while simultaneously maintaining the same range. As a result, lower battery prices can help to counterbalance the higher cost as well as the quality of drivetrain components, thus providing the global lightweight materials for EV market with lucrative growth opportunities.

By Shruti Vanjare


What are HEVs?

Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) are hybrid vehicles that combine an electric propulsion system with a traditional internal combustion engine system. The presence of the electric powertrain helps HEVs achieve better performance, in addition to improved fuel economy compared to a conventional vehicle.

What are some of the materials used to reduce the weight of a vehicle?

Aluminum alloys, carbon fiber composites, and magnesium alloys, among others, are some of the top materials utilized to reduce a vehicle’s weight.

What are the key players operating in the global lightweight materials for EV market?

Constellium SE, Covestro AG, LyondellBasell Industries NV, and others are among the key players operating in the global lightweight materials for EV market.