Nissan is the world’s first carmaker to use the high-formability steel, with a tensile strength of 980 megapascals, which was jointly developed by Nissan and Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. The steel’s combination of stamping formability and strength makes it possible to form parts with complex shapes that are thinner and lighter than those made of conventional high tensile strength steel, while maintaining the ability to absorb energy in a collision.
The INFINITI QX50 premium midsize SUV, which went on sale in the U.S. in March, is the world’s first vehicle with front and rear side members made from 980-megapascal ultrahigh tensile strength steel, along with other body frame parts. Nissan plans to expand the use of the material, which enhances fuel efficiency as well as driving performance by lowering vehicle weight, to other models.
Nissan launched a sustainability plan this month that calls for lowering CO2 emissions from its new vehicles by 40% by fiscal year 2022, compared with fiscal year 2000. The company is aggressively developing technologies to expand the use of ultrahigh tensile strength steel, aiming for it to make up 25% of the company’s vehicle parts by weight. The material makes up 27% of the new QX50.
The 980-megapascal steel developed with Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal can be cold-pressed, making it suitable for mass production. This will help contain increases in vehicle cost.