Winter 2020

Lighten the load

ArcelorMittal’s study on smart steel solutions for chassis can extend range, reduce costs and emissions, explain

Jean-Luc Thirion, head of ArcelorMittal’s Global R&D for Flat Products, and Paul Brettnacher, CMO of Automotive and Packaging for ArcelorMittal Europe – Flat Products

Paul Brettnacher

Jean-Luc Thirion 

The latest S-in motion study from ArcelorMittal has identified new design options for the rear chassis of a battery electric vehicle (BEV) using the latest advanced high strength steels (AHSS) from ArcelorMittal. 

What was the scope of the S-in motion rear chassis project? 


Jean-Luc Thirion (JLT): We successfully developed a lightweight steel rear-subframe concept for BEVs which utilises ArcelorMittal’s most advanced high strength steels. We performed a complete numerical analysis of the solutions, including extreme load cases and fatigue and modal analysis. These tests ensured the S-in motion rear chassis solution has equivalent performance to the benchmarked premium SUV vehicles. 

Detail of an S-in motion rear chassis equipped with an e-motor 

What are the main concerns of consumers when it comes to BEVs? 


Paul Brettnacher (PB): One of the biggest concerns for consumers is vehicle range. This can be partially addressed by reducing vehicle weight, something that is already possible with AHSS. But OEMs also need to innovate the battery cells and materials. Consumers are also concerned about vehicle cost, improving lifecycle management, and noise and vibration performance.  

How does the chassis contribute to resolving these concerns?


PB:
The chassis includes a series of fundamental components which manage vehicle dynamics and comfort. Chassis parts are also critically important to passenger safety, particularly when unexpected events occur while the car is in motion.

Did the S-in motion rear chassis study identify weight savings?


JLT: We identified two rear-subframe solutions which use AHSS and offer significant mass savings. One is an integral link solution, and it has a weight of 28.6 kg. The second is a solution with five links which is 27.5kg. Both compare favourably to existing aluminium solutions which weigh between 22.5 and 38.5kg, and average 30.5kg.

The S-in motion study identified two optimised lightweight steel solutions for different chassis requirements.

How do the steel solutions compare when it comes to the environment?


PB: A life cycle assessment (LCA) was performed to compare an aluminium solution against ArcelorMittal’s AHSS solution. It showed we can reduce CO2-equivalent emissions by up to 58 per cent for an AHSS rear chassis when we compare it to one made from aluminium.

The S-in motion study identified two optimised lightweight steel solutions for different chaLCA comparing the CO2-equivalent footprint of an S-in motion BEV rear chassis with one made from aluminium.ssis requirements.

And when it comes to cost…?


JLT: We found that costs could be reduced by up to 45 per cent with AHSS compared to existing and comparable aluminium solutions. That is a major saving for OEMs – and consumers.

Which AHSS grades did you use in the study, and why did you choose these grades?


JLT: AHSS are the best solution to achieve a revolution in mobility at an affordable cost. This S-in motion rear chassis study demonstrates how ArcelorMittal’s ferrite-bainite grades and complex phase steels contribute to the overall performance of BEV chassis architectures. 

We found that costs could be reduced by up to 45 per cent with AHSS compared to existing and comparable aluminium solutions. That is a major saving for OEMs – and consumers.

Are there particular AHSS that are dedicated to chassis applications?


JLT: ArcelorMittal can offer customers a range of innovative hot-rolled ferrite bainite and complex phase steels for the chassis. Grades such as HR480Y590T-FB-HHE and HR660Y760T-CP-SF are best-in-class cold-stamped steel solutions at the 600 and 800 MPa tensile strength level. 

Strength load-case validation of a lower control arm made from HR660Y760T-CP 

Strength load-case validation for subframe parts made from CR780Y980T-CP 

Formability assessment of grade HR660Y760T-CP in 1.8 mm thickness [Copyright ArcelorMittal]

What support does ArcelorMittal offer to OEMs?


PB: ArcelorMittal has a lot of experience with hot-rolled ferrite-bainite and complex phase steels, especially those used in the chassis area. These products exhibit a good balance between strength and elongation, and we can help OEMs get the most out of them.


ArcelorMittal’s Global R&D team can support OEMs and Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers from the advanced engineering stage of a project, through to industrialisation, serial production, and end-of-life. We are constantly working with our customers to develop new AHSS steel solutions which are lighter, stronger, and even easier to process. 

Find out more about ArcelorMittal’s S-in motion rear chassis study here

Watch a recent webinar on ArcelorMittal’s S-in motion BEV chassis solutions hosted by Automotive Manufacturing Solutions here

Explore our steel solutions for BEV chassis and much more with our 3D car configurator here