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Hyundai Steel targets high-performance material market for EVs

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Hyundai Motor's concept electric vehicle made using steel plates from Hyundai Steel / Courtesy of Hyundai Steel
Hyundai Motor's concept electric vehicle made using steel plates from Hyundai Steel / Courtesy of Hyundai Steel

By Kim Jae-heun

Carmakers around the world have recently been focusing not only on expanding their supply of electric vehicles (EVs), but also on upgrading manufacturing technologies.

The key technologies in focus are aimed at lightening vehicle weight to increase mileage and strengthening durability to protect passengers and batteries in the event of a collision.

Demand for eco-friendly cars is expected to increase, as the electric vehicle market expands rapidly along with the global carbon-neutrality drive.

Against this backdrop, Hyundai Steel has been developing core technologies related to specialty steel used to make EV motors.

The steelmaker succeeded in mass producing premium hot stamping steel with a tensile strength of 1.8 gigapascals (GPa) for the first time in the world in conjunction with Hyundai Motor's Namyang Research Center in Gyeonggi Province.

Hot stamping involves the rapid quenching of ultra-high-strength?steel?that has been heated and formed into different shapes. The method is currently used to make Hyundai Motor's next-generation electric vehicles such as Genesis Electrified G80 (G80EV) and the new G90.

Hyundai Steel has been supplying the special steel parts to Hyundai Motor since last year. Starting this year, the company will supply enough steel to make about 30,000 EVs.

The 1.8 GPa ultra-high strength hot-stamping steel makes it possible to produce lighter and stronger vehicles. Its tensile strength is improved by 20 percent and its weight is about 10 percent lighter compared to previous 1.5 GPa hot-stamping steel.

"Hyundai Motor is gradually increasing the application rate of hot-stamping parts to make eco-friendly vehicles lighter. In fact, the automaker has increased the rate of hot-stamping steel used in electric cars to 20 percent compared to 15 percent for combustion-engine cars," a Hyundai Steel official said.

Kim Jae-heun

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