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
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
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
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
SOURCE Aluminum Association