The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Advanced Steels Boost Auto Fuel Efficiency

December 01, 2009

DETROIT --- The North American steel industry is continuing its efforts to develop new advanced high-strength steel (AHSS) technologies that will help meet new auto emissions and fuel economy demands, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. 

That was the message of Ron Krupitzer, vice president of automotive applications for the institute's Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI), when he spoke at the Bloomberg Cars and Fuels Briefing Dec. 1 at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. 

"New steels are the preferred environmental material of choice when it comes to lowering emissions, fuel consumption and energy intensity of vehicles," said Krupitzer. "In fact, new steels have enabled mass reductions in vehicles of 25 percent or more, while advances in steelmaking technology have lowered the energy required to produce steel by 33 percent from 1990 through 2007." 

The Bloomberg Cars and Fuels Briefing is a one-day event attended by investors, policy makers, business leaders, entrepreneurs and scientists in the transportation and energy fields. In addition to a number of presentations moderated by Bloomberg journalists, the event encourages interaction with some of the industry's most influential thinkers and leaders. 

According to Krupitzer, when one considers the total vehicle life cycle, steel is the most environmentally effective choice for automakers because of its relatively low energy and emissions during the manufacturing phase, significant mass reduction with AHSS during the driving phase, and 100 percent recyclability at the end of the vehicle's life. 

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) assists automakers in evaluating and reducing the total energy and greenhouse gas emissions associated with their products. LCA can help carmakers make better decisions in the selection of structural materials for future cars and trucks. 

Krupitzer also discussed the steel industry's history of research in advanced steel vehicle concepts, including UltraLight steel auto body and auto/steel partnership projects. 

Through the work of automakers and steel company engineers, steel continues to address new demands and remains the dominant automotive material, making up 60 percent of the average North American vehicle. 

"Our latest design project with WorldAutoSteel and EDAG is called Future Steel Vehicle and addresses the technologies projected to be on the road in 2020," said Krupitzer. "Through this project, fully engineered, steel-intensive designs of battery-electric and plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles will be released in early 2011 to demonstrate the environmental benefits of steel." 

To download a copy of Krupitzer's presentation, visit

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