Less weight - with no compromise on safety or comfort. It is one of the biggest goals of car design, especially as carmakers seek efficiencies that will mean lower and lower emissions. And year after year, our S-in motion® steel solutions give carmakers innovative new ways to achieve it.
The latest advance: S-in motion® for front seats
In 2017, we developed our S-in motion® for front seats programme. Like all our S-in motion® projects, it identified where carmakers or their supplier manufacturers could use our range of advanced high strength steels (AHSS) to optimise and lightweight components while maintaining safety and performance.
In this case, we took a typical front seat for a compact passenger car (known as a C-segment vehicle) and demonstrated how AHSS could be used in seat components including the backrest side-member, cushion side-member, gusset, and brackets. Altogether, we can demonstrate a potential saving of 2.3 kg per seat - that's 18% of the weight of our example seat.
Saving up to 100kg from a typical passenger car
The front seat project is the latest addition to our series of design case studies which, since 2010, have seen us working with customers to apply S-in motion® solutions to a whole range of components and structures, from the body-in-white (the basic vehicle structure) to doors, and from crash management systems to chassis applications.
Taken together, our S-in motion® solutions can save up to 100kg for typical passenger cars.
Reduced emissions, better range
Weight savings like these really matter to our customers.
They can help increase the battery range of electric vehicles, or significantly improve fuel efficiency and so help traditional carmakers meet increasingly demanding emissions reductions targets. And in both cases, they achieve the key objective of meeting safety standards.
And while we often start with a C-segment example, as these are the most widely produced cars worldwide, developments are easily applied to other car types. We've also developed solutions for pick-up trucks, truck cabs, and light commercial vehicles.
Weight, cost, and performance are all taken into account. And when carmakers apply AHSS solutions to their vehicles, we can provide co-engineering expertise within the specific design parameters they need.
Cutting carbon by cutting weight
At the same time, our expertise in life cycle analysis enables us to show customers how these weight savings help cut the carbon footprint of their vehicles over their full life cycle. At a conservative estimate, 50kg weight saved per vehicle enables 900kg CO2 over its lifetime. The benefits to society are impressive: applied to all the cars produced globally in 2020, our solutions would save 90 million tonnes of CO2* emissions over these vehicles’ lifetime. That's an equivalent footprint to the annual energy use of more than 9 million US homes - or more than 19 million passenger cars driven for one year.
Of course, we're not there yet - but it is the kind of ambition that underpins our sustainable development outcome 2: Products that accelerate more sustainable lifestyles.
*Based on projected car production of 100 million cars in 2020, each with a projected 200,000km of lifetime driving. Calculated on the basis that 50kg of vehicle mass saved equates to reductions of 4.5g of CO2 per km travelled.