Global steelmakers have a long history of investment in vehicle material application demonstrations to assist the automotive industry in applying steel innovation to current and future vehicles.  Steel E-Motive is the sixth program in WorldAutoSteel’s 22-year history.  These programs represent over €100 million in steel industry investment, the engineering and findings of which we make freely available to all.  Click the links to learn more about each program (open the worldautosteel.org website pages). Sign up for Steel E-Motive updates to get the latest information on this new program.

history of steel innovation

The Ultralight Steel Auto Body (ULSAB) Program, the first industry collaboration of its kind in the world, was an intensive, multi-phase study to demonstrate steel’s capability to reduce substantially the weight of a vehicle’s body structure and, at the same time, ensure safety with improved comfort and driving performance, all at affordable cost. ULSAB was the first demonstration of High-Strength Steels in unique vehicle applications. It resulted in the design and engineering of a lightweight, efficient steel body structure that achieves impressive mass savings and significant performance improvements, while retaining affordable manufacturing costs.

The Ultralight Steel Auto Closure (ULSAC) Program began as a concept development program, producing lightweight designs for doors, hoods, decklids and hatches that are up to 32% lighter than the average benchmark. The program continued to the manufacture of steel frameless door demonstration hardware that achieves dramatic results in mass reduction and performance, yet is manufacturable in high-volume at affordable costs. Some of the first applications of Class A surface Advanced High-Strength Steels (AHSS) were achieved in this effort.

UltraLight Steel Auto Body – Advanced Vehicle Concepts (ULSAB-AVC) demonstrated the promise that steel is the most environmentally optimal and affordable material for future generations of vehicles. The program supported this offer by demonstrating the application of new steels, advanced manufacturing processes, and innovative design concepts for U.S. mid-size and European C-Class vehicles.

The UltraLight Steel Auto Suspension (ULSAS) Program is a primer on understanding and exploiting the properties of steel as well as a showcase for the best automotive design technology in suspensions. The program designed an array of suspensions that reduced their mass substantially, yet not significantly raising cost to manufacture.

FutureSteelVehicle uses state-of-the-future design optimization methodology coupled with an expanded portfolio of HSS and AHSS steels and an array of steel technologies to achieve 39 percent mass savings in a Battery Electric Vehicle. It represents the highest use of AHSS (95%) in vehicle applications demonstrated yet today. In addition, life cycle emissions are reduced, while enabling 5-Star crash safety performance and maintaining steel’s affordable costs.

The objectives of the steel industry in conducting these demonstrations has always been and will continue to be to:

  • Show the potential for optimized, cost-effective, environmentally-friendly and mass efficient steel-intensive solutions
  • Explore and apply the full range of steel product and process technologies
  • Develop steel-based design concepts that meet or exceed modern standards of performance, safety and efficiency
  • Assist vehicle manufacturers with the competitive challenges of efficient, durable structures, while satisfying a range of technical, safety, environmental and consumer demands.

As a result, this family of research programs has made a dramatic impact on current vehicle architectures. AHSS can be found in nearly every vehicle on the road today in the world, using applications that closely mirror this revolutionary work. The fact that automakers are applying their findings to reach design, engineering and manufacturing goals on a global order of magnitude is evidence of their success in providing viable solutions for vehicle efficiency. We are confident that Steel E-Motive will provide innovations that will have the same exciting effect on the next generation of mobility.