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Can Castings Go Electric?

An editorial in the New York Times got us thinking. As fuel economy standards become more stringent and increasing numbers of hybrid and electric cars hit the roads, how will the metalcasting industry be affected?

The assumption may be that with fewer internal combustion engines tooling around the highways and byways, fewer metal castings will be needed for the manufacture of automobiles. But it’s definitely not certain that this is the case.

First, if the rise in electric and hybrid cars stimulates a car-buying boom, the industry will almost certainly see a boost. However many metal castings find their way into those next-generation vehicles (there will at least be a few), selling cars is most definitely preferable to not selling cars as far as metalcasters are concerned.

Second, how long will the power-plants that go into electric cars last? If the cars turn out to be less long-lived than their predecessors, then they will have to be replaced more often, leading to an increase in casting consumption.

Third, the weight savings sometimes offered by metal castings may make them more desirable in hybrid and electric cars than metal components produced in other manufacturing processes.

It’s hard for anyone to say with certainty how this issue will shake out. But that shouldn’t stop you from sounding off. Comment here, or enjoy relative anonymity by answering our monthly online poll (located in the right hand column of our homepage). The results could be shocking.