Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. has announced its plan to expand the use of Advanced High Tensile Strength Steel (AHSS) in up to 25 percent of the vehicle parts (measured by weight) installed in its new production models. The automaker will make use of AHSS starting in 2017 as one of its initiatives to help reduce vehicle weight.
Nissan, alongside Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation and Kobe Steel Ltd., has developed 1.2 gigapascal (GPa) Ultra High Tensile Strength Steel with Formability and has used it in the new Infiniti Q50, which goes on sale in North America in 2013. Prior to the development of 1.2GPa ultra high strength steel, it had been difficult to use high tensile steels for vehicle parts with highly complex shapes. Nissan continues to be the only auto manufacturer using 1.2 GPa ultra high tensile strength steel with high formability.
With the active adoption of 1.2 GPa ultra high strength steel, which is one grade among several types of AHSS, Nissan will increase the adoption rate of AHSS as far as 25 percent of the gross weight of the parts installed per vehicle. This effort will begin in 2017 and aims to reduce the weight of Nissan’s vehicles by 15 percent with corresponding body structure rationalization.
Through an optimal combination of materials, the jointly-developed 1.2 GPa Ultra High Tensile Strength Steel with Formability provides greater elongation and offers strength and high formability to make lightweight steel sheets. These attributes enable it to be used for parts with complex shapes, which had been difficult to manufacture using established high tensile steels. Combined with high-precision die design and a welding process suitable for materials during the production process, the 1.2GPa Ultra High Tensile Strength Steel with Formability can now be applied to the production of more vehicle parts.
In addition, employing 1.2 GPa high tensile strength steel leads to fewer materials used per vehicle produced, and existing production lines can be used without a big modification. This results in a reduction in total cost per unit.
Under the Nissan Green Program 2016, Nissan’s mid-term environmental plan, the company is aiming for a 35 percent improvement in fuel economy compared with 2005 on a corporate average for all Nissan vehicles by the end of fiscal 2016. To that end, the extensive use of AHSS, including the new 1.2GPa ultra high tensile steel, will contribute to reduced vehicle weight and better fuel economy, according to the company.