Aerial view of Shanghai City highways

Advanced automotive steels reduce weight, improve safety

At the end of the 1970s, an average car body panel had a strength of around 120 megapascals (MPa), while ‘high-strength’ steels were around 588 MPa. Today’s standard body panels typically start at 600 MPa and range up to ultra-high strength steels at the 2,000 MPa level.

The four-fold increase in the strength of automotive steels in just 40 years has led to a dramatic improvement in safety, and on the weight of vehicles. By combining advanced steels with technologies such as laser welded blanks (LWBs), automakers can ensure the right steel is in the right place to increase safety while decreasing vehicle weight.

The weight of a typical vehicle has reduced by around 25 percent compared to 1980, largely thanks to the use of these advanced steels and technologies. This has led to significant improvements in energy consumption during the use phase of a vehicle’s life, but at an affordable cost to consumers.