@Rob, it is hard to picture a situation where steel will completely be left out in the manufacture of automotives, more so for the larger vehicles. The future lies in the development of better, stronger and lighter steel, though if you consider aspects such as stability heavy steel will still be with us for a while.
Ho Bob, China making high quaility steel is unlikely do to past experience with their ' high quality steels'.
But this really is the last gasp of steel bodied cars, vehicles as so much lower cost to do composite ones at 50% of the weight and 2x;s as strong.
My all composite 2 seat sportwagon EV body/chassis only weighs 235lbs vs a far weaker one in steel likely 550lbs+. And not a fiber of carbon in it. Now add the production line is 5% of a steel car one cost for start up isn't good either for steel.
And composites are made from common materials like sand and biomass for the fibers and resins taking much less energy to make than steel. My epoxy I use most is made from peanut oil.
Facts are gasoline will be $7/gal in 3-5 yrs and likely $10/gal in 10 yrs. So likely the market and competition will solve the problem.
Just look at the EV field where they have taken the top/best production car , Tesla, and fastest MC, the Lightening, are EV's.
EV drive and composite monocoque body/chassis will be the future, why not get started there now?
Rob, I agree in part. One thing you might want to consider as well is regional aspects of this topic. China, the largest automotive market in the world has enormous capacity in steel manufacturing, and can produce many of the AHSS and UHSS materials. However, at this point the consistency and capacity are both extremely limited. For those materials to replace a significant amount of the market in China, it will require even more investment in facilities and management practices. In the meantime, their aluminum capacity and processing capability are relatively strong.
I have two side bets on the new automotive industry as we head toward the CAFE standards. One is that fuel efficiency is going to be won by a super-efficient internal combustion engine (as opposed to EVs or hybrids) and second, that strong lightweight steel will hold on to material dominance following a challenge by composites. In both cases, a revamped old world beats the new world.
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