Steelmaker ArcelorMittal says meaningful reductions in vehicle weight can still be achieved through all-steel construction, with greater use of high-strength steel allowing a full-size pickup to be around 23 percent lighter than before.
Responding to Ford's move to use aluminium in the body and tray of its new F-150 range (pictured) ArcelorMittal commissioned a study to see what weight savings could be created by using different grades of steel in the body and frame of a 2009-model pickup.
In the study, a reduction in weight of around 175kg by replacing key components in the frame and other underbody components with high-strength steel.
That took the test vehicle's underbody weight from 748kg to 573kg.
However the numbers suggest that aluminium still has an edge when it comes to reducing weight of non-critical components, with Ford's alloy-bodied F-150 weighing around 317kg less than its predecessor, though it still uses a traditional steel frame.
“It is possible to design all types of lightweight vehicles and to get them to the 2025 targets, and you can do it in steel,” said Blake Zuidema, ArcelorMittal’s director of automotive product applications.
“Other materials can provide lower overall weight [than high-strength steel], but you don’t need that,” Zuidema said.
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