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STUDY: ULSAB-AVC Life Cycle Inventory

FSV PNGV or Mid-Class Vehicle

ULSAB-AVC PNGV (mid size)-Class Vehicle

A life cycle inventory study (LCI) conducted by the University of Michigan’s Center for Sustainable Systems reveals that ULSAB-AVC PNGV-class gas engine vehicle potentially consumes less than half of the energy compared to a generic reference vehicle.

The study was undertaken, in cooperation with life cycle inventory and automotive experts in the steel and automotive industries, to provide quantitative measures of the ULSAB-AVC vehicles’ environmental performance.

The LCI study, commissioned by the World Steel Association, was completed to evaluate the inputs and outputs of the ULSAB-AVC vehicle’s product system over its life cycle. This includes resource and energy consumption, emissions to air, water, and ground, and vehicle function, from extraction of resources through vehicle manufacturing, operation and maintenance, and disposition. 

Following is a synopsis of the LCI study findings:

PNGV-Class ICE consumes:

  • 51% less energy over the Total Life Cycle
  • 20% less energy in the Vehicle Production Phase
  • 56% less energy in the Use Phase
  • 9% less energy in the Disposition Phase

PNGV-Class Diesel Engine consumes 64% less energy in the Use Phase.

Click the attached document to download a copy of the UM Center for Sustainable Systems final study report for full details.

The ULSAB-AVC PNGV-Class vehicle is comparable to the U.S. mid-size vehicle class. It was determined that this concept vehicle’s superior performance is due to some combination of mass reduction and improved powertrain technology.

“These dramatic results in improved energy resource consumption is clear evidence that high- and advanced high-strength steel vehicle design combined with the right powertrain can lead to significant environmental efficiencies,” said Ed Opbroek, ULSAB-AVC Program Director and Director of World Steel Association’s Committee for Automotive Applications (AutoCo).

ULSAB-AVC vehicle body structures are comprised of more than 85% high- and ultra-high strength steels. The vehicles achieved a 5-star rating potential in U.S. side and full frontal crashes, as well as a four- or five-star crash rating potential for European crash requirements. The PNGV-class design with gas-engine option would achieve 60 miles per gallon or 4.5 liters per 100 kilometers on the highway. Both concepts, including the PNGV-Class and a European C-Class vehicle, are credited with bringing safe, affordable, fuel efficient and environmentally responsible vehicles to near-term reality.

The life cycle inventory approach was used since it provides a holistic and comprehensive view of the vehicle product system. With such an approach, it can be determined which aspects of vehicle manufacturing, operation, maintenance and disposition are most environmentally significant and how changes to the product system affect the outcome. Thus, it is possible to characterize environmental performance and identify those aspects of benefit and greatest priority for improvements.

The ULSAB-AVC LCI study was largely based on the methodology, modeling and data used in an earlier study by the United States Automotive Materials Partnership (USAMP), a consortium within the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR). This approach was taken to make best use of currently available research. As a result, the study could focus primarily on new research presented by the ULSAB-AVC program.