Technical Paper

Vehicle of the future: the role of the new generation of high strength steel grades

International Symposium on Niobium Microalloyed Sheet Steel for Automotive Application

In the coming years, the automotive manufactures (OEMs – Original Equipment Manufactures) will face an increasing competition for conservation and acquisition of market share in a more and more global market. On such a base, in order to meet the customer demands, the OEMs are obliged to introduce more optional equipment in their model, in the basic version, and increase the vehicle dimensions to improve passenger comfort and spaceconfigurability. At the same time, it is possible to observe a continuous implementation of more and more severe norms both for vehicle and pedestrian safety. These factors mean a consequential incremental increase of the vehicle mass and consequently increased fuel consumptions. For such a reason, the European Commission, in agreement with ACEA, decided to introduce clear regulations for reducing noxious emissions and fuel consumption and at the same time for controlling the dismantling, recycling and reuse procedures of end-of-life vehicles. Referring to the fuel consumption reduction, the CAFE regulations restrict CO2 emissions (which are directly linked to the fuel consumption) according to two timetables; 140 and 120 g CO2 per km for 2008 and 2012, respectively, measured as an average value on the entire OEM fleet.In order to respect such limits, besides innovation on engines and transmissions, CRF research programs are focused upon improving vehicle structural and aerodynamic efficiency, thereby minimizing the rolling resistance simultaneously. Focusing on vehicle structural efficiency, the conducted analysis demonstrated that weight saving plays an important role for meeting the CAFE 2008 target and a fundamental issue for meeting the 2012 target. (AU)
Technical Paper (PDF 5.47 MB)