OCTOBER 2009

WorldAutoSteel group develops vehicle concept

As worldwide demands for affordable, safe and high-efficiency vehicles surge, the global steel industry’s WorldAutoSteel automotive group, supported by AISI’s Steel Market Development Institute, is launching Phase 2 of its Future Steel Vehicle (FSV) program aimed at helping automakers optimize new propulsion technologies that will soon enter show rooms.

The FSV program recently completed Phase 1 of its research and has released its findings and plans for Phase 2.

For Phase 1, FSV’s technical team, which includes EDAG, Quantum Technologies, SFCV/Tongji and WorldAutoSteel material experts, considered 4 technical specification options for proposed 2015 to 2020 model year vehicles: battery electric (BEV) and plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles (PHEV) for 4 or more passengers; and PHEV and fuel cell vehicles (FCV) for 5 passengers.

Each of these options was evaluated by the engineering team and powertrains were selected based on performance, viability for production in 2020 and cost. Two vehicle classes were identified as well:

  • FSV-1 is a four-door hatchback with BEV and PHEV20 powertrain variants; and
  • FSV-2 is a four-door sedan and is designed to accept two powertrain options: a PHEV40 and a fuel cell electric vehicle.

In Phase 2, the purpose will be to develop detailed design concepts and fully optimize a radically different body structure for the FSV-1 BEV. It will also identify structure changes to accommodate the other three vehicles and powertrain variants.

In addition to meeting or exceeding future safety and performance requirements, extremely aggressive weight-reduction targets have been set for FSV Phase 2. The FSV team intends to meet these targets using engineering design optimization and advanced steel technologies. Achievement of such aggressive weight reduction with steel will set a new standard for vehicle design approaches for the future.

The FSV Phase 2 development will consider a total life cycle assessment of the concept designs to meet CO2 emissions targets. Regulations that consider only the vehicle use phase can encourage the use of low-density, greenhouse gas-intensive materials that provide lighter weight components. However, this may have the unexpected result of increasing GHG emissions during the vehicle’s total life cycle.

In 2008, the FSV team released preliminary styling imagery for an early reveal on what the FSV vehicles might look like. Since then, the design process has taken the team through a number of iterations.

WorldAutoSteel and its global engineering partners will develop FSV Phase 2 through 2009 and 2010. This will be followed by a demonstration hardware phase.