Steel in the future automotive industry
The material for driverless e-cars
One in every four German-produced cars uses steel from GMH Gruppe. And steel will continue to be important in the automotive industry of the future: as an especially light and high-strength material in lightweight engineering, in e-cars and in driverless vehicles, for instance.
Electrification is coming, and it's coming ever faster. Falling battery prices are powering steadily rising demand for electric cars. Driverless cars are also evolving further, even if it will still take a couple of years to progress from a model with a parking aid up to the entirely self-steering hybrid vehicle. The top contender in this trend, for use in body shells and many other components, for example: high-strength lightweight steel from GMH Gruppe.
The benefits of steel in vehicle lightweighting:
- Economically rational: high-strength steel reduces the overall weight of vehicles and thus also their CO₂ emissions
- Solid-formed lightweight-engineering solutions using high-performance steel are economically rational and competitive
- Forged steel pistons, for example: higher efficiency thanks to more compact design, increased strength, improved thermal stability, lower weight
The material – steel for the needs of tomorrow
Thanks to its diverse and versatile properties, steel, in combination with other materials, will retain its special importance in the automotive industry. Whether in development or production, component or grade, steel is predestined for the diverse challenges of the future. Solutions in steel will remain relevant wherever automotive-engineering demands are high, such as in batteries and electric motors.
In the fields of e-cars and driverless vehicles, there will, in the long term, be no alternative to steel. Lightweight steel sheet for body shells is a typical example of new and evolving applications for high-strength steels. The use of "green" ultra-high-strength steels, either augmenting or as alternatives to plastic components (dashboards and seat upholstery, for instance) propel the modern steel industry.
Modern automotive engineering: 5 levels to the driverless car
Experts subdivide the journey to the driverless car into five levels. Most cars achieve Level 1 (automated technologies such as cruise control, etc.), but only a few are on Level 2. These vehicles incorporate capabilities such as self-controlled parking, distance keeping and lane holding. Level 3 is currently at the test phase: vehicles at this level are capable of independent avoiding action and overtaking. Level 4 (the vehicle basically drives itself) and Level 5 (the vehicle needs no driver at all) will probably only be reached after a further number of years.