Tesla is here. Are the aluminium companies ready?


    "Tesla's factory in China" has attracted great attention from the automotive industry since the previous year. Recently, it has become a hot topic, with constant doubts and affirmations. On May 10, the rumored nationalization of Tesla, the world's first electric vehicle brand, finally came true. According to the State Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System, Tesla (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. was established on May 10, and obtained a business license issued by the Market Supervision Bureau of Shanghai Pudong New Area for a period of 30 years with a registered capital of 100 million yuan.

    In addition, foreign media sources said that Tesla, in cooperation with Space X, will share a director of materials department, aiming to build a material engineering team, focusing on the development of advanced materials. The news also said that the use of large quantities of aluminium materials on Tesla Model S and Model X shows that aluminium alloy materials will be widely used in the products of the two companies in the future.

    Regardless of the specific purpose of Tesla's construction in China and the voice of doubts, this is absolutely of great significance. It will become the first wholly-owned overseas car company in China. With the huge supply market in China, Tesla's production costs will be greatly reduced. As we all know, Tesla has always been fond of the application of aluminium materials, not only because of the urgent need for lightweight of new energy vehicles, but also because of the long-term plan of enterprises for the application of new materials. Therefore, the author believes that the localization of Tesla may provide a visible market development space for China's aluminium materials, and even accelerate the pace of development of new energy vehicles and technological material innovation. China's aluminium enterprises should seize the opportunity to jointly promote the breakthrough application of aluminium alloy materials in the field of new energy vehicles.

    China has a huge automobile consumption market with huge potential and capacity. According to relevant statistical data, in 2017, the global total sales of new energy vehicles exceeded 1.42 million, and the total sales exceeded 3.4 million. By the end of 2017, the cumulative sales of new energy vehicles in China reached 1.8 million vehicles, more than 50% of the total global sales. No matter sales volume, growth rate or global market share, they are the first in the world. It is estimated that the production and sales of new energy vehicles in China will exceed 1 million in 2018, 2 million in 2020 and 13 million in 2030.

    It can be predicted that the huge market capacity and demand of our country will provide unlimited business opportunities for new energy vehicles in the future. Extending to aluminium, the huge demand for new energy vehicles throws a huge olive branch and opportunity period to the aluminium industry.

    So why is aluminium preferred by Tesla?

    The most prominent advantage of aluminium material in automobile manufacturing lies in its lightweight and recyclable use, which is also a difficult problem for major automobile companies to explore and develop in recent years in order to solve. If aluminium alloy material is widely used in automobile industry, it will bring enormous economic benefits in automobile manufacturing, automobile operation and waste automobile recycling.

    According to the relevant information, for every 100 kilograms of weight loss in general automobiles, 175 litres of gasoline will be saved annually, and carbon emissions will also be greatly reduced. Aluminum Association of America has also pointed out that if the weight of the car is reduced by 25%, the time of acceleration to 60 miles will be reduced from 10 seconds to 6 seconds. At the same time, when the weight of the car is reduced, it will also make the car more stable, increase passenger space and achieve more comfort and safety. In addition to the above advantages, weight loss will provide more driving mileage and more space for batteries.

    From the current domestic electric vehicle market, only BYD is one of the top independent brand manufacturers. If we compare BYD with Tesla, there are still some gaps in technology development and material application, especially in the use of new materials and aluminium alloy materials, Tesla is definitely better.

Although Tesla's presence is bound to bring obvious pressure and competition to China's automotive industry, it has to be said that Tesla's high-end manufacturing technology, advanced technology and materials application and market promotion will complement the development of China's new energy automotive industry.

    At present, China's aluminium industry is the first in the world in aluminium production, and the level of aluminium industry has been in the lead in the world. Many breakthroughs have been made in the field of aluminium processing materials, and even large-scale industrialization has been achieved in some aspects such as aluminium for automotive parts and aluminium for whole vehicles. Aluminum enterprises represented by China Aluminum Industry, Zhongwang Group and Shengtong Group have completed the application and promotion of all-aluminium vehicles, and have won unanimous praise from downstream automobile enterprises and users.

    Therefore, when Tesla is stationed, the aluminium enterprises should open their arms and try to cooperate with them to form a joint effort to promote the application of aluminium in the new energy automotive field and open up a new and larger application market for the aluminium industry.

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