- AP News
- Abc News
ArcelorMittal will launch a new high-strength automotive steel later this year, throwing down the gauntlet to its rivals in the race to make cars lighter.
The world’s biggest steel producer by tonnage said that its new grade, called Usibor 2000, would be about one-third stronger than those currently available for carmaking.
“It’s lightweight because the material is so strong that you need a lot less of it to achieve the same functionality,” said Greg Ludkovsky, head of research and development at ArcelorMittal.
Tightening regulations on exhaust emissions in the fight against climate change are forcing automakers to improve their fleets’ average fuel efficiency. Alongside improvements in internal combustion engine technology and developments in electric vehicles, one of the main ways is by reducing mass.
While steel remains the material of choice in automotive, there is increasing competition from other substrates, such as aluminium and plastic composites, which can offer weight advantages.
This was illustrated when Ford switched to aluminium for the body of its 2015 F-150 pickup truck, the best-selling vehicle in the US for more than three decades.
ArcelorMittal said that for applications requiring complex shapes, its Usibor 2000 product would bring potential weight saving of up 10 per cent on the previous best steel grade. It is more than three times stronger than leading automotive aluminium alloys, according to the company. Launch is expected by the end of this year in Europe and mid-2017 in the US.