Lightweighting vehicles is a big deal. The lighter the car, the less relative energy required to move it down the road. This thinking has been influencing car design and manufacturing for some time now as automakers strive to make models with higher fuel efficiency, but the momentum has increased because of the much higher mpg that will be required from automakers in the years ahead. Now, each and every part of a car is examined for lightweighting potential and new answers are emerging all the time.
Take the new ultra lightweight car door solution devised by ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel and mining company and supplier to many auto manufacturers. In a world where lightweight aluminum, plastics, and other materials vie for roles once exclusively played by steel, it’s no wonder that steel companies have a vested interest in illustrating how advanced steel can continue to dominate.
ArcelorMittal’s lightweight car door example demonstrates that using steels and technology currently available, a 27 percent weight and cost saving can be achieved without compromising safety and structural requirements. But it gets better. The company also points out that its global research and development team has identified that even greater door weight savings of up to 34 percent is achievable with new advanced high strength steels and technology that will emerge during the next few years.
How important is this? The current 27 percent weight reduction of a baseline C-segment door using high strength steels and ultra-high strength steels decreases weight from about 40 pounds to 29 pounds. Considering that automotive weight savings is typically measured in grams, this is a significant weight reduction for a single automotive application.