Outlining short-, medium- and long-term ambitions, the plan developed by Tata Steel addresses three key areas: Electrification, autonomous driving and shared use; Digitalisation and service offering; and Sustainability.
These plans project towards a future that Tata Steel predicts will be an automotive market based on mobility services using shared autonomous vehicles, with the majority of vehicle sales being on a business-to-business basis as fewer consumers own cars. Tata Steel predicts that by 2050, these will primarily be propelled by an electrified powertrain though other technologies, such as H2 fuel cells, will also increase in popularity until then.
The plans will support vehicle manufacturers today and in the future as they develop the next generation of hybrid and electric vehicles. The short-term strategy outlines how Tata Steel deploys a range of lightweight steels for reducing weight and cost of crash components in vehicles that are more efficient by using less energy to move. In addition, deployment of reliable steel solutions for energy storage and E-motors will help to improve driving range and cost of the vehicles in the medium term while a longer-term strategy invests in the development of new solutions for a further optimisation in future generations.
Digitalisation within the automotive value chain allows for through-chain material traceability and quality tracking, for a more efficient processing and continuous adaptation to customer-specific demands. Advanced engineering services improve the accuracy of simulations and reduce prototyping time and costs, while advanced digital services optimize processes by enabling predictive manufacturing. In the longer term, Tata Steel expects an overall faster time to market for new products that are tailored better to customer needs, ultimately supporting customers to achieve improved quality and a lower TCO.
With sustainability as an overarching goal, Tata Steel has made various investments that contribute towards the overall sustainability of its manufacturing facilities. As its ultimate ambition, Tata Steel has begun work on plans to make large asset investments to create the steel plant of the future – one key factor being implementing new technology to produce liquid steel, enabling up to 80% reduction in CO2.
Basjan Berkhout, marketing manager Automotive at Tata Steel Europe, said: “We are committed to pioneering the next generation of steel products for car manufacturers, allowing them to further lightweight vehicles and reduce vehicle emissions as well as improving their manufacturing efficiencies. We have plans to create the steel plant of the future as we set out our commitment to sustainability.
“In different ways, steel is expected to play an increasingly important role in the vehicle structure in the future as in our vision the most sustainable vehicles are built with steel. Steel is forever recyclable, and so can be the most sustainable material for cars, vans and trucks today and in the future.”