The Aluminum Association's Randall Scheps (see picture), Marketing Director, Alcoa was a featured presenter at this year's SAE Government/Industry Meeting. The meeting was held February 3-6, 2009 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, in Washington, DC. The event's theme, Reinventing the Automobile-A Global Change.
Scheps's panel, 'Fuel Economy Effects on Vehicle Safety' discussed the pressures to improve vehicle fuel efficiency and the potential impact of that pressure on safety. The session requested strategies for improving fuel economy without sacrificing the tremendous gains that have been made in safety in recent years. Scheps noted in his presentation that size, not weight, is the best determinant of vehicle safety and that aluminium is very effective at reducing weight without compromising safety. He also noted that pairing an aluminium structure with advanced powertrains like hybrids magnifies the fuel savings. This makes aluminium an increasingly attractive option for improving fuel economy as powertrains become more sophisticated.
AA's Auto and Light Truck Group had a booth display at the event, which also featured other presentations by top policymakers representing government organizations, technical experts from leading research organizations, and industry executives and engineers. Topics included fuel economy and oil prices, alternative energy sources and sustainability, future vehicle technologies, priorities in motor vehicle safety, and crash studies and biomechanics.