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  • Electric vehicles to increase auto industry steel demand by 4.2m tonnes a year by 2050

    7 Sep 2017 | Corporate News

    • Electrification increases demand for structural, electrical and plated steel

    • OEMs need high strength steel to achieve cost-effective lightweight EVs

    Increasing demand for ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEV) will drive growth in steel supply to the European automotive industry by 4.2 million tonnes, according to a new study by Tata Steel, published today. The study predicts production of steel for vehicle structure, as well as electrical and plated steels, will see a sharp increase if all new vehicles are to have zero emissions by 2050.
    The study shows demand for advanced steels for the vehicle structure will increase by approximately 2.6 million tonnes by 2050, as manufacturers look to save weight in the most cost-effective way possible. This is contrary to previous speculation suggesting non-ferrous materials – such as aluminium and carbon fibre – would increase, leaving steel as a less-attractive alternative. However, these materials are expected to have a relatively low impact for two reasons; first they will remain prohibitively expensive, and secondly, they are less sustainable when looking at the full lifecycle, which will be a major, future driver in automotive. Steel is infinitely recyclable with no loss of quality.

    Another key growth area for steel will be in the powertrain used in ULEVs, including electric motors and battery cells. Expected to account for a 1.6 million tonne increase in the demand for steel, these components will use greater levels of electrical and plated steels respectively. High performance electrical steels can improve an electric motor’s efficiency, enhancing range and power, while lithium-ion batteries commonly used in ULEVs require advanced plated steel.


    Growth will also be supported by the development of localised battery cell production, with at least six significant factories required in Europe by 2030 to meet the increased demand for electric vehicles.


    A growing number of ULEVs on the road will also cause increased demand on electric infrastructure. Steel will play a key role in the development of ULEV infrastructure, such as charging units and refuelling hubs.


    The study by Tata Steel has considered several roadmaps for the uptake of ULEVs by 2050, depending on the level of global legislation and the speed at which it is implemented. It has also considered external factors likely to impact the adoption of zero emissions vehicles, such as car-sharing and population growth.


    Chris Wooffindin, marketing manager – automotive at Tata Steel, said: “Our report shows steel will be more relevant to the automotive industry than it is today. Many people expected the next generation of vehicles to feature unconventional materials However, that would not be feasible based on the costs manufacturers and, subsequently, customers would face with electrification.
    “In terms of environmental sustainability, we also see our customers moving from tailpipe assessment towards life-cycle assessment (LCA), the true assessment of a vehicles’ environmental credentials, from cradle to grave. This assessment confirms some non-steel materials are significantly less attractive compared to steel. We believe, and are seeing, that advanced steels are the answer; offering sustainable solutions which suit the automotive industry for both the immediate and long-term future.”

    Growth will also be supported by the development of localised battery cell production, with at least six significant factories required in Europe by 2030 to meet the increased demand for electric vehicles.

    A growing number of ULEVs on the road will also cause increased demand on electric infrastructure. Steel will play a key role in the development of ULEV infrastructure, such as charging units and refuelling hubs.

    The study by Tata Steel has considered several roadmaps for the uptake of ULEVs by 2050, depending on the level of global legislation and the speed at which it is implemented. It has also considered external factors likely to impact the adoption of zero emissions vehicles, such as car-sharing and population growth.

    Chris Wooffindin, marketing manager – automotive at Tata Steel, said: “Our report shows steel will be more relevant to the automotive industry than it is today. Many people expected the next generation of vehicles to feature unconventional materials However, that would not be feasible based on the costs manufacturers and, subsequently, customers would face with electrification.

    “In terms of environmental sustainability, we also see our customers moving from tailpipe assessment towards life-cycle assessment (LCA), the true assessment of a vehicles’ environmental credentials, from cradle to grave. This assessment confirms some non-steel materials are significantly less attractive compared to steel. We believe, and are seeing, that advanced steels are the answer; offering sustainable solutions which suit the automotive industry for both the immediate and long-term future.”

    To find out more, download Tata Steel’s white paper. For interview requests or additional information, please contact Torque Agency Group on the details below.

    -ends-

    Notes to Editors

    For further information:
    Alex Michaelides: +44 (0)207 952 1078 / amichaelides@torqueagencygroup.com  
    Adam Forshaw: +44 (0)207 952 1082 / aforshaw@torqueagencygroup.com 

    About Tata Steel’s European operations

    Tata Steel is one of Europe's leading steel producers, with steelmaking in the UK and Netherlands, and manufacturing plants across Europe. The company supplies high-quality steel products to the most demanding markets, including construction and infrastructure, automotive, packaging and engineering. Tata Steel works with customers to develop new steel products that give them a competitive edge. The combined Tata Steel group is one of the top global steel companies, with an annual steel capacity of 27.5 million tonnes and almost 74,000 employees across five continents. The group’s revenue in the year ending March 2017 was $18.1 billion.