The trend for use of high-strength steels continues to head in the direction of modern motor vehicles using more effective and efficient blends of high strength materials.
Automobile manufacturers are continuing to increase the use of high-strength steels in HSS (High Strength Steel) and AHSS (Advanced High Strength Steel) technologies. The strong push for use of these improved materials is primarily rooted in the vehicle manufacturer efforts to meet the so-called “CAFE” standards, which stands for “corporate average fuel economy” regulations through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Thus, the primary motivation among vehicle manufacturers is to make motor vehicles lighter and stronger and be able to meet increasingly restrictive vehicle mileage requirements. The following websites offer further detail:
Some of the materials that are becoming widespread in mainstream automobiles have been used previously in somewhat more exotic applications, such as race cars and rail transport. The changes in the highway landscape are occurring because the vehicle manufacturers are modernizing their manufacturing processes to utilize advanced materials technology, making cars out of stronger steel in the process. Ron Moore, a subject matter expert with NFPA's Electric Vehicle Responder Safety Program, explains the new vehicle crash testing, why you need to know about them, and provides an excellent overview of high strength steel in the video below.
Also, check out a study done by The Fire Protection Research Foundation about the effectiveness of hydraulic extrication tools during operations involving HSS and AHSS.