Introduction

The 2016 Steel Industry Technology Roadmap for Automotive is a look at the long-term technology needs to support future automotive material selection decisions with advanced high-strength steel (AHSS) – including, optimized design, fuel economy, strength and durability, environmental performance and value. This roadmap emphasizes the needs of the automotive industry to attain these requirements and how the steel industry is currently supporting these needs, as well as how to address them in the future. The report also summarizes recent steel-related projects supporting the automotive industry and recommendations for continued work.

New automotive steels, manufacturing processes and design projects demonstrate continuous innovation and high value lightweighting solutions. High-strength steel (HSS) and AHSS* have been the material of choice for automotive mass reduction in the past 25 years. Steel continues to be innovative, introducing new grades and manufacturing processes to support future vehicle mass reduction. Steel offers several major benefits to automakers and consumers, including:

  • Highest value mass reduction solutions for achieving 54.5 mpg
  • No need for extensive body shop or assembly plant investment
    • Manufacturable within existing infrastructure
    • Well-established supply chain infrastructure
  • Highest value to consumer, including cost of purchasing, fuel consumption, insurance and repair costs
  • Most environmentally responsible mass reduction solution
  • Well-established consumer perception as strong and safe material

In the past 10 years, new steel innovations have proven to reduce automotive component and sub-system mass by nearly 25 percent; and, some studies have shown mass savings up to 29 percent versus traditional mild steel benchmarks. Some examples of vehicle mass reductions are shown in Figure 1.

Vehicle manufacturers generally make significant body and closure material updates during major model changes. Over the long-term each platform’s future updates provide opportunities for increased use of AHSS and growth in higher-strength steels.

Figure 1.  Steel Enabled Mass Reduction Application in New Vehicles

*In this Roadmap, AHSS refers to all steel products with a tensile strength equal to or greater than 590 MPa including those UHSS products with a tensile strength at or above 1000 MPa.


Table of ContentsIntroduction | Fuel Economy and Emissions | Vehicle Strength | Additional Steel Industry Solutions | Future Steel Solutions | Primary Strategic Areas | Download the full PDF