Progress in Weight Loss Steel: Body Structures Keep the Slimming Trend Going

WorldAutoSteel has, over the past decade, made significant investments in the automotive market in a series of light weighting projects. The last of these, ULSAB-AVC, was reported to the global automotive industry in 2002.

These concept solutions achieved 25% or greater vehicle body structure weight reduction through the applications of Advanced High-Strength Steels, while adhering to crash safety and stiffness design requirements. Moreover, the solutions came at no system cost increase to manufacturers.

These programmes set the strategic vision for automotive steel and, since then, we have been working with the automotive industry to achieve these results in production vehicles.

We can measure progress, however, through data drawn from the A2MAC1 teardown database that compares body structure weight as a proportion of gross vehicle weight (GVW) for over 100 production vehicles:

A2Mac1 database

Of the steel vehicles within this data base, evaluated at the time we released the ULSAB-AVC project in 2002, a typical steel body structure represented about 20% of the GVW.


Steel vehicles launched since that time have shown marked reductions in mass.


 

Looking at the top 10 steel body Looking at the top 10 steel body structures, we see a significant improvement as Advance High-Strength Steel solutions have been deployed in these vehicles.

Average body structure mass of the 10 best steel intensive vehicles has been reduced by 21% over the 2002 average vehicle.


 

 

When comparing these results to When comparing these results to the exclusively all-aluminium body structures within this database (the gray line), we see that automotive manufacturers have been able to narrow the gap between steel and all-aluminium designs from 28% in 2002 to just 9% in 2008, compared to the top 10 best executions of Advanced High-Strength Steel.

The ULSAB-AVC concepts shifted vehicle material content from a majority conventional (mild) steel to 80% Advanced High-Strength Steels. This data shows that since then, automakers have implemented Advanced High-Strength Steels across a broad range of vehicle segments. In automaker press releases, they’ve claimed as much as 50 percent AHSS and attributed its use to vehicle weight reduction.


Ducker Study projected growth of AHSS

Consequently we’ve seen a great deal of growth in the Advanced High-Strength Steel market. A Ducker study conducted in North America reflects this increase in AHSS usage. As you can see here, the study data shows the dramatic upward trend for Advanced High-Strength Steel content in vehicles and what is anticipated out to the year 2020. As a result, additional progress in mass reduction is anticipated in production vehicles as this technology is fully deployed. From 2002 and 2008, steel companies worked with OEM customers to implement the technology demonstrated in ULSAB-AVC, but we have no intention of slowing down the development of new ways to increase efficiency. In 2008 we began our fifth global auto steel research programme, FutureSteelVehicle. This programme targets future challenges to materials selection in the automotive market and is further evidence of the steel industry’s commitment to solutions that benefit the environment, automakers and end consumers. It represents our continued focus on being a proactive partner with our customers to deliver technologies that help address the many challenges in delivering lighter, safer, greener vehicles. And we believe, this programme will set the strategic vision for automotive steel for the coming decade.