Nissan will expand the use of a new type of steel that enhances fuel efficiency and driving performance by lowering vehicle weight.
First seen in the Infiniti QX50 midsize SUV, the new material combines high tensile strength with a previously unachievable degree of formability, resulting in lighter vehicles that can help lower emissions.
Featuring a tensile strength of 980MPa, the material was jointly developed by Nissan and Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. While maintaining the ability to absorb energy in a collision, the steel’s combination of stamping formability and strength makes it possible to form complex shapes that are thinner and lighter than those made of conventional high tensile strength steel. The ability for the steel to be cold pressed makes it suitable for mass production which will help contain increases in vehicle costs.
According to Nissan, the Infiniti QX50, which went on sale in the US in March, is the world’s first vehicle with front and rear side members made from 980MPa ultra-high tensile strength steel. The material is also used in a range of other body frame parts.
Nissan launched a sustainability plan in June that calls for lowering CO2 emissions from its new vehicles by 40 per cent by 2022, compared with 2000. The company is aggressively developing technologies to expand the use of ultra-high tensile strength steel, aiming for it to make up 25 per cent of the company’s ‘vehicle parts by weight’. The material makes up 27 per cent of the new QX50.