One of the main challenges for BEVs is that they are already several hundred kilograms heavier than their ICE counterparts due to the weight of the batteries – and the reinforcement required to keep vehicle occupants safe. As a result, there is much more energy to absorb in the event of a crash.
ArcelorMittal’s most recent S-in motion® study looked at three key parts of BEVs: the battery pack, the body-in-white (BIW), and the chassis.
The battery pack is one of the most vital parts of a BEV as it houses the battery cells. As well as protecting the cells and their associated equipment from external elements, the battery pack must keep the vehicle and its passengers safe from battery, fumes, fire, and electromagnetic fields.
The results of the BEV S-in motion® study showed that a range of ArcelorMittal products have the properties required to fulfil these requirements. They include Usibor® 2000 and Ductibor® 1000 for hot stamping, Fortiform® for cold-stamped parts, and MartINsite® 1500 for roll formed parts. As BEVs are more expensive to produce, mainly due to battery costs, AHSS like these remain the optimal solution to reach the OEM’s cost, performance, environmental, and – most importantly – safety targets.
For consumers, the use of AHSS results in a cost-effective mobility solution with the highest level of safety. And the lighter weight of vehicles created from AHSS also extends the driving range of the vehicle – another key concern for potential customers.
A lighter mass also has benefits for the environment. Firstly, it reduces the overall amount of energy needed to move the car and improves performance parameters such as acceleration and handling. Secondly, it directly reduces the emissions that are caused by the production of these materials.
Environmental targets are expected to become more important in coming years as the impact of vehicle emissions moves from the tailpipe to include the full lifecycle of the vehicle. By 2023, the European Commission wants to establish a common methodology to assess the CO2-equivalent (CO2-eq) emissions of a vehicle over its entire life. That methodology is expected to be included in European legislation from 2030.
ArcelorMittal has long argued for a full lifecycle approach to measuring vehicle emissions, and we welcome this initiative. Steel already has the lowest CO2-eq per part compared to alternative materials including aluminium. For the BIW, the CO2 emissions associated with an automotive part made of AHSS are less than half of those of an equivalent aluminium part, and less than a third that of a part made from carbon fibre reinforced plastic. In addition, steel is 100-percent recyclable at the end of the vehicle’s life and makes a positive contribution to total lifecycle emissions.
In 2019, ArcelorMittal announced plans to significantly reduce our global production of carbon dioxide emissions. Our goal is to be carbon neutral by 2050. An interim target for Europe is to cut carbon emissions by 30-percent by 2030 to make a positive contribution to the European Commission’s ‘Green Deal’. These initiatives will further enhance the environmental profile of steel, and ensure it remains the material of choice for future mobility.
Head of Global R&D for Automotive