Study: High-Strength Steels Provide Most Cost-Effective Lightweighting

10th December 2012

A recently published National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report entitled “Mass Reduction for Light-Duty Vehicles for Model Years 2017-2025” examined mid-size body, chassis and interior vehicle systems and determined that basic lightweighting costs $0.46 per pound of weight saved ($1.02 per kilogram) using advanced high-strength steels (AHSS), compared to $1.55 per pound ($3.41 per kilogram) using aluminum.

“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,” Lawrence W. Kavanagh, president, Steel Market Development Institute, a business unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute, said. “This is significant, as automakers have the challenging task of developing affordable vehicles that meet new and tightening regulations.”

In addition to its cost advantage, the report highlighted steel’s ability to provide excellent crash performance. George Washington University verified the excellent crash performance of the lightweight vehicle design in simulated New Car Assessment Program, Frontal, Lateral Moving Deformable Barrier, and Lateral Pole tests, along with 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.”

The report was prepared by EDAG, Inc., George Washington University and Electricore, Inc.

View the report here (PDF 24mb)

 

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