Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards regulate the fuel economy of vehicles sold in the United States. Rather than requiring minimum fuel efficiency standards for each vehicle, CAFE requires that each manufacturer’s average fuel economy meet certain requirements.
For the 2017 model year, smaller passenger cars must achieve an average fuel efficiency of 44 MPG while larger passenger cars must achieve 33 MPG. Requirements for smaller and larger light trucks are 36 MPG and 25 MPG respectively.
The key to meeting the new cafe standards is replacing heavier parts with lightweight parts. Hydroforming is one method of manufacturing lightweight car parts in a way that is efficient and inexpensive.
Hydroforming works by using a high-pressure fluid to force a metal into a die. Typically, the process operates at room temperature. Hydroforming can be used to quickly and efficiently make shapes that would otherwise be difficult to manufacture, such as the shapes needed to form an aerodynamic vehicle body.
Studies have shown that hydroforming of vehicular body and floor structures can result in a greater than 10% improvement in manufacturing cost and a greater than 7% improvement in weight when compared to stamping. Much of this cost improvement comes from the ability to replace several complex stamping steps with a single hydroforming step. Since hydroforming often produces stronger parts than stamping and welding, part dimensions can be adjusted, resulting in a reduction in weight.
Hydroforming is an efficient way of manufacturing lightweight parts for the next generation of vehicles. To learn more about how hydroformed parts can help you to achieve CAFE 2017 standards, please contact us.