Sustainability and safety will drive the future of steel vehicles, suggests WorldAutoSteel, the automotive group of the International Iron and Steel Institute. The auto group recently released early styling sketches based on Phase I research of its Future Steel Vehicle (FSV) Program and provided some detail of its early work.
Four technical options are being considered for a year 2015-2020 vehicle: electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles for four-plus passengers, and plug-in hybrid electric and fuel cell vehicles for five passengers. The vehicle architecture will feature advanced high-strength steel bodies.
WorldAutoSteel says the Future Steel Vehicle Program is evaluating next-generation vehicle technologies that meet the challenge of increasing fuel efficiency, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving safety.
"For the sake of the environment, it is critical to look at [the] future steel vehicle, as all vehicles, from a lifecycle assessment perspective," says Edward Opbroek, director of WorldAutoSteel.
Adds Jody Shaw, chair of the FSV Program and U.S. Steel manager of technical marketing and product research, "If the whole lifecycle is not taken into account, there is the distinct possibility of having a net increase in greenhouse gases if the wrong material choice is made. This isn't just speculation -- we've got very clear models that demonstrate this."
Other members of WorldAutoSteel include Arcelor Mittal, Kobe Steel, Nucor and ThyssenKrupp Steel.
The Future Steel Vehicle Program will start Phase 2, Concept Design, in early 2009, the organization says.