ArcelorMittal has developed a cost-effective lightweight modular steel platform for fuel-powered and electric light commercial vehicles (LCVs). From 2017, makers of N1-type LCVs will face penalties in the European Union if emissions from their vehicles exceed 175 grams/kilometre. While the limit is being phased-in from 2014, the 2020 target is just 147 g/km.
ArcelorMittal’s Automotive Global R&D team created a new underbody platform for both fuel- and electric-powered LCVs. The underbody was chosen as it is typically similar across different models and used for up to 12 years. OEMs simply modify the upper structure to create passenger models or cargo versions with different volumes.
New CO2 legislation with € penalties in Europe (click to enlarge image)
A recent-model baseline LCV was selected for the study of the fuel-powered LCV. The reference underbody mainly comprised high strength low alloy (HSLA) steels and had a total mass of 193 kg.
Using ultra high strength steels (UHSS) and advanced high strength steels (AHSS), ArcelorMittal’s engineers:
ArcelorMittal evaluated the performance of the redesigned underbody in several crash scenarios. Analysis of frontal, rear and lateral crash data showed the lightweight fuel-powered model performs as well as the baseline.
While UHSS and AHSS have been used in the new design, overall material costs are neutral as less steel is required. Industrial validation is expected to show that additional savings can be achieved from process improvements and use of laser welded blanks (LWBs).
Steel solutions for LCV at equal performance (click to enlarge image)