Volt’s Light-Weight Material
What will the high-tech, alternative-powered vehicles of the not-too-distant future be constructed with?
Chances are, one might think some exotic, ultra-light-weight material, some composite or aluminum or magnesium.
Or maybe steel.
And the members of the Automotive Applications Council of the Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI) drove that message home by awarding the Chevy Volt design and engineering team with its annual Automotive Excellence Award for the use of advanced high strength steel (which can be considered an exotic, ultra-light-weight material, comparatively speaking) in its upper and lower body structures. The material provides the Volt with low mass—which is of particular importance given the fact that there is a 435-lb lithium-ion battery pack on board—while meeting all safety requirements.
What’s more, according to Ron Krupitzer, vice president, automotive market for SMDI, “The Volt’s design achieves segment-leading safety performance by using steel in more than 70% of the body structure.”
Clearly, the Volt is one of the most high-tech, alternative-powered vehicles of today, so odds are steel is going to be used in those being developed for the world of tomorrow, too.
Material selection is the key factor for making vehicles lighter. Here’s a quick look at the best options that also lend themselves to quick-turn, fully functional prototypes.
I'm not talking about a plastic Revell model of a '57 Chevy, but a real vehicle, one that rolls off an assembly line in 1999 with another 99,999 just like it right behind. Is it possible, or is this just a fantasy of the marketing department at Elmer's?
Honda is an engine company.