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Aluminium leap for Ford

United States – Ford’s latest vehicle, the F-150, boasts a body built ‘almost entirely’ out of aluminium. Use of the light metal trims 700 pounds (317 kg) from the weight of the 5000-pound (2268 kg) vehicle. This represents ‘a giant leap forward in truck technology’, says Ford, adding that most manufacturers still rely on much heavier steel.

No less than 97% of the body of the F-150 comprises ‘high-strength, military-grade aluminium alloy’ – the most extensive use of aluminium ever in a truck, Ford claims. This is in line with the company’s mission to pursue innovation over traditional design. ‘You’re either moving ahead and you’re improving and you’re making the vehicle more valuable and more useful to the customer or you’re not,’ comments Ford’s chief executive Alan Mulally.

While aluminium is more expensive than steel, Ford engineers expect the company will make up the premium by reducing its recycling costs. There will be less metal to recycle, they argue, as the engine and other components have been slimmed down.

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