Steel Industry Calls for Shift in Vehicle Regulations
19 October 2011
Abrasives companies serving tooling manufacturers serving the automotive industry may be cheered by the news that the World Steel Industry is fighting to maintain the use of steel components against the growth of lighter materials such as aluminium, magnesium and carbon fibre in the development of more environmentally friendly cars.
WorldAutoSteel, the automotive group of the World Steel Association, is arguing that steel is still one of the best materials for vehicles if you take into account the total life cycle of a vehicle’s life including material and vehicle production, driving and end-of-life-recycling. "When vehicle emissions assessments are focused solely on the emissions produced during the driving phase it encourages the use of greenhouse gas-intensive materials in the effort to reduce vehicle weight and fuel consumption," Cees ten Broek, director, WorldAutoSteel, said. "However, this may have the unintended consequence of increasing greenhouse gas emissions during the vehicle’s total life cycle." Alternative materials, such as aluminum, magnesium and carbon fibre produce emissions during their manufacture that are five to 20 times greater than steel says WorldAutoSteel.
The United States is currently examining fuel economy and emissions requirements for 2017-2025, while the mid-term review of EU legislation on emission standards for new cars is expected next year and, in many Asia Pacific countries, vehicle efficiency standards also are being assessed. In light of these developments, the industry is calling for a shift from driving phase emissions regulations to a LCA approach that effectively measures the carbon footprint of current and future cars. "Regulations that focus only on one part of the vehicle’s life cycle will become immediately out of date as the electric vehicle becomes more prominent on the road," said ten Broek. "We are only shifting the problem to other vehicle life cycle phases." WorldAutoSteel recently released results of a global steel industry initiative, the FutureSteelVehicle (FSV), which features fully engineered steel body structure designs for electrified vehicles that reduce total life cycle emissions by nearly 70 percent and vehicle weight by 35 percent compared to a benchmark. FSV demonstrates that low life cycle emission vehicles are not only possible with steel, but more probable.
About the Steel Market Development InstituteThe Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI), a business unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute, grows and maintains the use of steel through strategies that promote cost-effective solutions in the automotive, construction and container markets, as well as for new-growth opportunities in emerging steel markets.