Blog - June 2020
For the transition to battery electric vehicles (BEVs) to be successful, automakers must increase efforts to extend range, reduce costs and enhance safety. But there are several challenges. The battery pack must hold the maximum number of cells. For that to happen, the packing efficiency must be great. The battery must fit within an efficient architecture that limits awkward placement and unnecessary movement. And, of course, the vehicles must be affordable for the customer. ArcelorMittal is meeting those challenges.
To elaborate, safety is, of course, a key concern. We must encase the battery in a pack that is crash resistant, watertight and fireproof. Our S-in motion® design proposals have gone through stringent testing at external testing facilities. When we test, we choose the most stringent standards worldwide. So, no matter where the cars are sold, the same design can meet all regional safety standards.
As for affordability, steel provides the best value. Our S-in motion® battery pack architecture, crafted using our advanced steels, is comparable in weight to aluminum-intensive as well as mixed material battery packs. When high-volume vehicles, such as the Toyota RAV4 and the Ford Escape are electrified, it will create an economy of scale, further reducing the cost of BEVs. And we believe steel will always provide the best value.
MartINsite® plays a vital role in our battery pack design. We’ve pioneered this product since the late 1980s and it continues to evolve. We’ve been able to increase strength to 1700 MPa, while maintaining a desirable flat shape, thanks to USA investments at Indiana Harbor's No. 3 continuous annealing line (CAL).
Cost and range are currently the only perceptional roadblocks for BEVs to take off. We are working to address those challenges and, as we do, we see more customers moving into the mobility space because BEVs have less negative impact on the environment. It also gives them a greater sense of security and superior driving dynamics because of the inherent structural benefit of a lower center of gravity.
The current pandemic may also influence more people to go electric. They may want to drive their own vehicles instead of taking public transportation but may still want to limit their carbon footprint due to their behavior change. We can help with that... offering the right steels for the right applications at the right price.
Director, Automotive Product Applications
Bala Krishnan is the director of automotive product applications at ArcelorMittal. Based in the East Chicago, Indiana, Bala leads a Global R&D team in identifying new automotive steel product needs and promotes new and existing steel applications in North America.
Bala joined ArcelorMittal’s predecessor company Inland Steel in 1987 as a platform manager and progressed through various technical roles. Most recently, he served as global technology manager for a group of OEMs.
Bala earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Alagappa College in India and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology.