Historically, the demand for automobiles that reduce environmental impacts and the demands for improved vehicle safety and cost effectiveness have been in conflict. However, results of the ULSAB-AVC (Advanced Vehicle Concepts) program, the most recent global steel industry initiative, show that all of these challenging demands can be met simultaneously. The goal of the program was to reduce the weight of auto body structures and to improve fuel economy, while maintaining vehicle performance, safety, reliability, and affordability.
The ULSAB-AVC project creates a complete conceptual design for a steel-intensive, energy-efficient, safe and affordable mid-size sedan. Gasoline and diesel powered models were designed to achieve fuel efficiencies of 52 mpg and 68 mpg, respectively, for the U.S. driving cycle. The mid-size sedan concept met stringent 2004 crash safety requirements in simulated crash tests, with the potential to achieve a quadruple ""Five-Star"" crash safety rating, the highest rating possible in North America and Europe. This was accomplished using existing off-the-shelf technology augmented with innovative designs, advanced steels, and manufacturing techniques. With high-volume manufacturing of 225,000 units per year, the ULSAB-AVC automobile would cost no more to manufacture than comparable family sedans.
The ULSAB-AVC automobile offers an environmentally responsible automotive design solution that can be implemented using currently available technology and existing infrastructure. This paper highlights results of the concept engineering, life cycle inventory, and cost analyses.