GM Bets on Lightweight, Malleable NanoSteel | Autopia | Wired.com
General Motors is looking to raise its lineup’s miles-per-gallon figures, starting with the exterior. GM Ventures LLC has invested in NanoSteel, a Rhode Island company with 34 employees that makes metals with altered grain structures. If developed to production, the material will potentially shave weight off Cadillacs and Chevrolets without losing the strength needed to survive a crash. The terms of the investment were not disclosed.
Jon Lauckner, president of GM Ventures LLC, said, “Over the next several years, light-weighting of vehicles will be a major focus area to improve fuel economy.” The hope is that this new material will help American cars hit the government-mandated 2025 requirement of averaging 54.5 MPG. The NanoSteel will be used in the “body in white” (BIW) section, the steel of the car body that’s manufactured before other components – including doors and a hood – are added. That’s the space where integrity needs to be strongest rather than soft, like a crumple zone. The weight reduction, GM and NanoSteel say, is in the “hundreds” of pounds.