STEEL S4 EV will contribute to the utilisation of steel by researching and developing an innovative high strength steel chassis for electric vehicles. This must comply with structural and safety requirements and will become the backbone for the design of a new generation of electric vehicles (3 or 4 wheelers), that will demonstrate safe lightweight performance combined with optimised LCA indicators. By addressing low-investment manufacturing with a flexible and agile structure, STEEL S4 EV aims at making the light electric vehicle segment a strong and European owned market, making it successful thanks to a cost-driven approach.
The aim in STEEL S4 EV is to determine the most appropriate joining and manufacturing technologies to assure a long-term fatigue resistance under heavy load and to demonstrate novel manufacturing technologies that will put European manufacturers for quality, safety and manufacturing costs well ahead of Asian, Chinese and Indian competitors.
For this purpose, the consortium is composed of partners that have pioneered in the design and development of technologies for low-cost manufacturing of safe and fatigue-resistant structures for four wheel urban electric vehicles, made by a mix of advanced high strength dual phase steels in tubular form.
The project objectives are situated in the following fields:
- Design of a “skeleton-frame” chassis, that consists of a combination of tubes made of Advanced High Strength Steels, such as the Dual Phase steels DP600 to DP1500. This will allow using tubular components with the desired mechanical properties at the right location.
- Optimisation of the process parameters of several advanced welding technologies, to assure robust static and dynamic weld properties, for joining similar dual phase steels but also combinations of those materials.
- Create new vehicle concepts with enhanced safety behaviour considering not only the protection of the occupants but also minimizing the damage of vulnerable road users.
- Low investment manufacturing of highly complex 3D skeleton-frames by applying programmed laser cuts, which will allow high-accuracy multi-directional bending of tubes through simple steps and without the need of expensive templates or complex procedures of alignment.
- Improve the foot print of the vehicle through novel manufacturing concepts, industry 4.0 concepts application and light weighting of the steel vehicle structure.