Several recent studies are forecasting that; “Within the next 10 to 15 years, urban transportation will be dominated by Electric and Automated vehicles”. Meaning most of us will be driving Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) in the not-distant future. In 2011, just eight years ago, there were only three BEVs on the market with 70 to 80 miles range on a single charge. These were the first generation BEVs. Since then, the number of EVs on the market has increased, with significant improvements in range (now approaching 300 miles). BEV 2020 vehicles cover all current segments, from small cars to SUV’s and trucks. These vehicles will be available from most OEMs as well as several new start-up companies. The construction material for body structures of these vehicles is predominantly steel, while some of the premium vehicles ($60,000 to $100,000) are aluminium. And the prevailing OEM message seems to be “anything TESLA can do, we can do better”.
So how will this change the vehicle body structure design, choice of construction material, its implications for manufacturing and assembly, and ultimately, the impact on automotive steel? That’s the subject of our last blog for 2019, written by Harry Singh, Senior Product Applications Engineer at United States Steel Corporation and formerly Director of Lightweighting at EDAG, Inc., the engineering expertise behind the FutureSteelVehicle.