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New research validates steel’s advantages in the race to 54.5 MPG

ArcelorMittal’s advanced steel grades provide the most cost competitive and environmentally friendly solution for helping automakers meet 2025 federal fuel-efficiency standards in the USA.

ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel and mining company and leading global supplier of automotive steels, has collected new evidence further demonstrating the potential of advanced steel products in helping automakers meet the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) Standards of 54.5 MPG by 2025. Specifically, based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) modeling, advanced high strength steels (AHSS) can deliver vehicle “lightweighting” benefits at a lower cost to the consumer and with less environmental impact than alternative solutions such as aluminum, magnesium or carbon fiber. 

ArcelorMittal obtained the CAFÉ Compliance and Effects Model, commonly referred to as the Volpe Model, which the EPA and NHTSA used to assess fuel economy improvement technology and set the new 2012-2025 standards. These models show that the weight reduction achieved with current and emerging AHSS products, combined with the improvements in power train technologies anticipated by the EPA and NHTSA, can get cars to the new 54.5 MPG standards.
The models further show that the weight reduction offered by AHSS provides one of the largest improvements in fuel economy, and the single largest improvement in efficiency per dollar spent than of any other known fuel economy improvement technology. Most important to the purpose of the CAFÉ standards, AHSS creates a lower life cycle carbon footprint vehicle than one manufactured from other, more energy and emissions-intensive alternatives such as aluminum or carbon fiber.

“ArcelorMittal is fully committed – and well positioned – to help auto manufacturers worldwide meet the seemingly conflicting challenges of increasing passenger safety, while delivering weight savings and reducing emissions,” said  Blake Zuidema, director, Automotive Product Applications. “As the new data show, high strength and ultra high strength steels offer a superior solution for making cars that are safer, lighter and more fuel efficient, while maintaining affordability for America’s new car buyers. Perhaps most importantly, steel can allow future vehicles to present a lower overall environmental footprint than those made of other lightweight  materials – which is central to the overall intent of the new fuel efficiency standards.”

Key facts about ArcelorMittal’s advanced automotive steel products include:

  • AHSS can provide a 7.2 percent fuel economy improvement at little or no cost to the original equipment manufacturer (OEM), which is up to six times more cost effective than aluminum.
  • Fleets made from AHSS can be manufactured by the OEM’s existing infrastructure with little need for additional investment, while many alternative materials require new equipment and a greater overall investment of time and money for production.
  • The production of one tonne of aluminum requires five times the energy required to make one tonne of AHSS proving that steel provides OEMs with an opportunity to create a lower life cycle carbon footprint vehicle than one manufactured from aluminum or carbon fiber. 
  • An aluminum car requires twice the amount of CO2 to manufacture than a car made of AHSS, since the body structure accounts for about one third of the curb weight of a typical vehicle.
  • ArcelorMittal is the leader in automotive sheet steel technology, both in the breadth and depth of its product portfolio, and in its ability to supply these grades throughout the world.
  • ArcelorMittal supplies about 17 percent of the world’s automotive market – with a strong presence in North America, Europe, South America and South Africa and an emerging presence in China.

Related information

Similar to the 54.5 mpg by 2025 fuel economy challenge in the US, Europe has the 95 g CO2/km by 2020 emission challenge. ArcelorMittal is already working to develop the next generation of AHSS which will be required globally beyond 2017.

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