As automakers look to achieve higher fuel-economy ratings and meet rigorous U.S. fuel economy standards, they are looking for ways to reduce overall vehicle weight. General Motors has taken what could be a game changing decision by investing in NanoSteel which is a leader in nano-structured steel materials design. The new steel alloy technology offers unique material characteristics that are not currently available today that will reduce vehicle weight and increase fuel economy.
GM Ventures LLC which is a subsidiary of General Motors, was created to invest in new promising automotive technologies. And NanoSteel could be one of the most promising new technologies to come along in a long time. NanoSteel has already created a new class of steel through the development of patented alloys, that will allow engineers and designers the ability to reduce weight by using the new steel technology in new vehicles. They will be able to use thinner gauges of steel that will be lighter, but will still maintain strength and structural integrity needed for safety.
An alternative to more expensive weight-reducing materials
NanoSteel’s new steel design is an alternative to other light-weight materials like carbon-fiber which costs much more and requires new investment in parts production and has performance limitations. GM Ventures is hoping that the investment in the nano-structured steel material designs will have a widespread impact on the auto industry.
“We are investing in NanoSteel because of the opportunity associated with their new steel alloy technology,” said Jon Lauckner, GM’s chief technology officer, vice president of Global R&D and president of GM Ventures LLC. “Over the next several years, light-weighting of vehicles will be a major focus area to improve fuel economy. NanoSteel’s nano-structured alloys offer unique material characteristics that are not available today, making them a potential game-changer.”
With the new infusion of capital from GM, NanoSteel can now accelerate the development of the new steel technology. “With the support of General Motors’ automotive expertise and technology leadership, we can accelerate the final phases of development of our nano-structured AHSS in the quest to economically lightweight vehicles,” said Dave Paratore, president and CEO of NanoSteel.
The automotive steel market represents a $100 billion-plus market and the performance capabilities of this new high-strength steel from NanoSteel has the potential to change the automotive industry in a huge way. We'll keep an eye on the new partnership with NanoSteel and see how the new steel technology affects automakers weight reduction goals of achieving increased fuel-economy in their new vehicles.
Source: General Motors