In order for automakers to meet the new stringent environmental policies and to improve fuel efficiency of their vehicles, they started to change the design of their vehicles to be better aerodynamically, to downside their vehicle sizes, thus they can reduce the engine size as well, and to increase the level of the electrification (partial or full electrification) of their fleet vehicles. Lightweight design is another widely used strategy to improve fuel economy of automobiles. Potential lightweight material needs to be cost effective, has the ability to reduce the weight of the vehicle and can meet the functionality requirements. Thus, we need a systematic material selection process that takes into consideration all design aspects such as cost, performance, and environmental impacts. Eco-material selection provides a systematic method for material selection and takes into account material’s mechanical properties, cost, and ability to reduce environmental impacts over product’s lifetime. This chapter summarizes methods of eco-material selections for automotive structural panels in the body-in-white. A set of numerical and qualitative metrics for eco-material selection will be developed and discussed in this chapter. These metrics cover products’ environmental impact, functionality, manufacturability, economic, and societal and safety factors.
Part of the book: Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Lighting