MESA, Ariz., June 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Being an engineering student is a stressful and serious affair, but the students from the University of Wisconsin-Madison know how to lighten up. In a competition to redesign and modify a General Motors sport-utility vehicle for maximum fuel efficiency and low emissions, students from Madison won the Innovations in Aluminum design at the inaugural FutureTruck Challenge at GM's desert proving grounds in Mesa, Arizona in a competition against 15 other top engineering schools from the U.S. and Canada. "The University of Wisconsin's design shows the clear superiority of high- strength, low-weight aluminum to meet the auto manufacturers' safety and performance requirements for environmentally-friendly vehicles. People tend to focus on high-tech engines, but reducing vehicle weight is the easiest and most cost-effective way to boost fuel economy and cut emissions," said Dr. Richard Klimisch, Vice President, Auto and Light Group, The Aluminum Association. The program teaches engineering students how to utilize aluminum's safety, environmental and performance advantages. As aluminum usage in cars and light trucks has doubled in the past decade, this will become increasingly important. Aluminum usage is skyrocketing in the auto industry because: * A six to eight percent fuel savings can be realized for every 10 percent weight reduction by substituting aluminum for much heavier steel. * Each pound of aluminum replacing two pounds of steel can save a net 20 pounds of CO2 equivalents over the typical lifetime of a vehicle. * Nearly 90 percent of automotive aluminum is currently recovered and recycled. Starting with a stock 2000 Chevrolet Suburban, the engineering students implemented a very aggressive weight reduction campaign. The use of aluminum included, but was not limited to, the frame, front spindles, fuels tanks, transmission housing, transfer case and front differential case. FutureTruck 2000 is a four-year advanced vehicle technology competition that seeks to redesign a sport utility vehicle for greater fuel efficiency, ultra-low emissions and decreased greenhouse gas impact. The first year's competition, vehicle testing and judging took place June 8-15, 2000, at the General Motors Desert Proving Ground in Mesa, Arizona. For more information on the advantages of automotive aluminum, visit www.autoaluminum.org. The Aluminum Association, based in Washington, DC with offices in Detroit, MI, represents primary producers of aluminum, recyclers, and producers of semi-fabricated products. Member companies operate almost 200 plants in 37 states.
SOURCE Aluminum Association