ArcelorMittal and WorldAutoSteel proudly propose a mass-efficient design that maximizes space for occupants, enhancing their travel experience, all while embracing the concept of Mobility as a Service (MaaS). In the consortium, ArcelorMittal played a key role by providing technical guidance and support in implementing crucial materials.
This includes the second generation of Press Hardening Steels, the third generation of Cold Stamping grades, resulting in mass targets of 33% for Press Hardening Steels, 11% for third-generation Cold Stamping grades, and 16% for Martensitic grades. An essential highlight is that using a steel module reduces CO2 equivalent emissions by 70% compared to an equivalent aluminum design, taking the Gigacasting module as a reference and calculations done with average European emissions of materials and grid. This emphasizes the project's commitment to sustainability and eco-friendly practices.
These concepts are already being studied in partnership with several OEMs, and the ArcelorMittal Global R&D team continues to develop new MPI solutions to simplify the manufacturing operations and maintain a best-in-class technical performance for the BIW.
On 1 August 2023 WorldAutoSteel published the following press release to share full details about the Steel E-Motive project:
Results of a global steel industry initiative aimed at developing the world’s first fully autonomous, electric vehicle body structure concept for ride sharing were unveiled on 1 August 2023, highlighting key sustainability and performance achievements. The project, called Steel E-Motive, is the culmination of a three-year research program led by WorldAutoSteel and in partnership with global engineering firm Ricardo. Its objective was to create a fully autonomous ride sharing vehicle concept showcasing the strength and durability of steel with a critical focus on sustainability for reaching net zero emissions targets. The results are safe, comfortable, and affordable body structures that support automakers in the continued development of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) ride sharing models.
Key program results include:
Safety and Comfort
“The objective of Steel E-Motive was twofold: one, as an industry, to create a solution that supports a sustainable, safe, and affordable future for urban mobility; and two, to showcase the role modern steel can play in making that future a reality,” said Cees ten Broek, Director, WorldAutoSteel. “This project represents an important step forward for autonomous ride sharing and zero-emission transport, and truly demonstrates how working together as an industry yields important results.”
Steel E-Motive is the latest in a history of steel industry demonstrations over the past 25 years that showcases new AHSS applications for automotive structures. WorldAutoSteel, the automotive group of the World Steel Association, which comprises 18 global steel producers, led the project, working closely with Ricardo, who managed the overall engineering design, testing, and development.
The program highlights two virtual concepts designed for 2030-35+ deployment: SEM1, a four-passenger urban transport, and SEM2, a six-passenger extra-urban commuter, both designed for level 5 autonomy with no steering or pedal box.
Other specifications include:
"ArcelorMittal participated with the consortium providing technical guidance and support in the implementations of some key materials, such as the second generation of Press Hardening Steels or the third generation of Cold Stamping grades. Additionally, Ricardo intensively introduced Advanced High Strength Steels into the design to meet an ambitious mass target of 33% of Press Hardening Steels, 11% of third generation Cold Stamping grades and 16% of Martensitic grades. The mechanical properties of PHS 2000 MPa grades, such as Usibor® 2000 were key to managing the challenging front crash requirements by maximising the ratio between the passenger cell dimensions and the car footprint. The front rail dimensions were reduced to the minimum possible thanks to these best-in-class PHS grades for anti-intrusion. Another key application proposed is the Laser Welded Blanks Door Ring, mixing PHS 1500 (Usibor® 1500), PHS 1000 (Ductibor® 1000) and PHS 2000 (Usibor® 2000), which effectively supports the crash management by ensuring the structural integrity and the ability to open the doors after a crash. The Steel e-Motive design was validated in terms of crash performance, and manufacturability."
Jérôme Favero, head of automotive steel solutions - Global R&D at ArcelorMittal
Using the newest steel grades and fabrication processes, Steel E-Motive’s portfolio enables tailoring vehicle properties that achieve significant safety, cost, and comfort advantages with seven key innovations only possible using steel:
1. B-Pillarless, one-box open body structure provides a wider door aperture for easy ingress/egress, disabilities access, and facilitates delivery services.
2. AHSS Extended Passenger Protection Zone provides excellent intrusion protection for rear-facing passengers.
3. Short Front Crash Zone structure meets the most stringent global crash requirements. Dual Phase (DP) Tailor Welded Blanks enable efficient design.
4. Small Offset Crash Glance Beam minimizes cabin intrusion and lowers crash pulse while preserving door ring and battery in 64 kph small overlap rigid barrier simulations.
5. (Rocker) Hex beam energy absorbers, made of roll-formed DP steel, are low cost, compact, and mass efficient, minimizing side crash intrusion and achieving superior battery protection.
6. Virtual B-Pillars are integrated into the doors, creating a compact section for better passenger visibility and improving passenger access. Bake Hardenable steel’s Class A-quality surface combined with a scissor door design enables complete elimination of the body side outer for mass and cost savings.
7. Industry-First Battery Carrier Frame eliminates the conventional battery case, utilizing the existing floor as the top cover, and features an AHSS triple-skinned bottom cover that seals the battery and provides protection from road debris and jacking errors. These efficiencies result in 37% mass savings (-27% less cost) and can be assembled offline for efficient vehicle integration.
“The objective of Steel E-Motive was twofold: one, as an industry, to create a solution that supports a sustainable, safe, and affordable future for urban mobility; and two, to showcase the role modern steel can play in making that future a reality. This project represents an important step forward for autonomous ride sharing and zero-emission transport, and truly demonstrates how working together as an industry yields important results.”
Cees ten Broek, Director, WorldAutoSteel
Program results available
As with previous steel industry demonstration programs, Steel E-Motive results, data, and CAD models are given freely to automotive manufacturers and others around the world to study and apply its learnings and innovations to produce a new generation of efficient, economic, and sustainable vehicles. Steel E-Motive also will be showcased at an upcoming event in early 2024 in China.