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The auto industry steels itself for the future

Governed by increasingly stringent legislation, vehicle manufacturers have clear objectives when it comes to reducing emissions and improving the efficiency of vehicles. Most companies agree on the notion that these targets will not be met by focusing on one aspect of vehicle development, like aerodynamics or the powertrain, for example. Instead, a holistic approach is necessary, and according to Jean-Luc Thirion, Head of Global R&D for Automotive at ArcelorMittal, lightweighting is a key piece in the puzzle.

Quarter of the whole

When preparing for future fuel economy and emissions regulations, two numbers in particular stand out for OEMs and suppliers: 54.5 and 95.

In the US, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) has proposed a 54.5mpg fuel economy target for 2025, although this is not set in stone and could be subject to change. In Europe, the target is based upon CO2 emissions, the fleet-wide average of which must be lower than 95g/km. This rule will start to be phased in during 2020.

All OEMs have been working towards these targets for a number of years, a fact which Thirion believes has seen lightweighting remain a continuous trend in vehicle development.

“Weight saving is one of the ways of reaching these objectives, but certainly not the only one,” he told Automotive World. “ArcelorMittal thinks that savings in weight will account for roughly 25% of the potential in improving vehicle efficiency and decreasing emissions.”

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