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WorldAutoSteel reveals options for future vehicle structures

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May 18, 2011 — Future vehicles could be made of structures that significantly reduce mass and emissions while still meeting high safety standards, according to recently release_notesd results from a three-year WorldAutoSteel program.

The program, launched to develop fully engineered, steel-intensive, emissions reducing designs for electric vehicles, resulted in a FutureSteelVehicle (FSV) with substantially different components compared to today’s average vehicle. The program used advanced high-strength steel to design structures for battery electric, plug-in hybrid, PHEV and fuel cell vehicles for the 2015-2020 model years.

The concepts feature steel body structure designs that cut mass by more than 35 percent and reduce total life cycle emissions by nearly 70 percent. But the vehicles would still meet a long list of global crash and durability requirements, enough for five-star safety ratings, according to World AutoSteel.

“FutureSteelVehicle taps into the best attributes of steel—its design flexibility, its strength and formability, its low manufacturing emissions and its comparative low cost,” said Jody Shaw, chairman of the FSV program and director of technical marketing and product research at United States Steel Corporation. “Though FutureSteelVehicle’s development focused on electrified powertrains, a broad bandwidth of steel applications have been produced that can be used to reduce mass and life cycle emissions for any type of automobile.”

The program used more than 20 new advanced steel grades expected to be commercially available in the near future. Some of the metals include dual phase (DP), transformation-induced plasticity (TRIP), twinning-induced plasticity (TWIP), complex phase (CP) and hot-formed (HF) steels. Those materials reach into GigaPascal-strength levels and are the newest in steel technology offered by the global industry.

The FSV also incorporates new shapes, such as a “shot gun” sub-system and freshly designed front rail and rocker sub-systems. The shapes often mimic Mother Nature’s designs, according to WorldAutoSteel.

To view some of the designs and learn more about the program results, click here.

WorldAutoSteel is the automotive group of the World Steel Association and is comprised of 17 major global steel producers from around the world. Its mission is to advance and communicate steel’s unique ability to meet the automotive industry’s needs and challenges in a sustainable and environmentally responsible way.

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