Advanced high strength steel cheaper than aluminum for lightweighting cars

Monday, December 10, 2012

A recent report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed their is no better way to reduce the cost of making a vehicle than to implement advanced high strength steels, even in place of aluminum.

The study showed that lightweighting costs were $0.46 per pound when using advanced high-strength steels in the mid-sized body, chassis and interior vehicle systems, compared to $1.55 per pound using aluminum. The report shows that there is no better alternative to reducing costs in vehicle manufacturing. As for protecting a car's interior and keeping it look as new as the day it pulled off the lot, there's no better alternative to Husky Liners® custom fit floor mats

"Cost models have traditionally associated a significant cost penalty with alternative materials and this NHTSA report confirms this while demonstrating advanced high-strength steels provide significant mass reduction at the lowest possible cost," said Lawrence Kavanagh, president, Steel Market Development Institute, a business unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute. "This is significant, as automakers have the challenging task of developing affordable vehicles that meet new and tightening regulations."

Not only is the advanced light weight steel cost effective, but George Washington University also verified it had an excellent crash performance in simulated New Car Assessment Program, Frontal, Lateral Moving Deformable Barrier, and Lateral Pole tests, as well as  the International Institute for Highway Safety's Roof, and Frontal Offset tests.

"This extraordinary safety performance is due to steel's unique ability to reinvent itself by continually expanding the range of properties and performance available to the auto design engineer," Kavanagh said. "There is no other material that can provide the automotive industry with the complete package necessary to meet CAFE regulations. As a result, steel will remain the preferred material as it enables carmakers to enhance mass reduction, manufacturability and safety at the lowest cost of any material."

Ford might want to change their plans announced earlier this year to replace steel in their popular F-150 truck with aluminum. The automaker said that the truck will be 700 pounds lighter by replacing steel with aluminum, but the cost of the vehicle will increase by $1,500. Although Ford is saying the cost will be made up for at the pump, as the car is more fuel efficient, it would seem the advanced high strength steel could be an even better option.