Fleet News

Magnesium - car metal of the future

VOLKSWAGEN is poised to make a dramatic increase in its investment in magnesium. The metal with the strength of aluminium but only half the weight forms a key element in the German company's search to turn from steel in the search for lighter car bodywork.

Head of vehicle research, Dr Horst Friedrich revealed that the manufacturer was considering doubling the size of a venture it has formed with an Israeli consortium for the extraction of magnesium from the Dead Sea. 'The first phase of operations is about to be launched. Production will start in January and we expect to produce 27,000 tonnes a year,' he said.

'We have a 35% share in this joint venture. Our investment runs into hundreds of millions of dollars and our plan is to take an initial annual supply of 9,000 tonnes.' He said it was vital that VW continued to pursue low-weight design and create vehicles which had greater aerodynamic efficiency. Friedrich added: 'In the medium term, I expect we will be using 50kg of magnesium in every car.'

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