Friday, August 24, 2007

Tech Watch: Chrysler Turns to High-Strength Steel Technologies To Improve Fuel Economy

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Chrysler is touting the advantages of a new steel technology (pictured) that lets it build vehicles that are safe, light, and fuel efficient. (Photo courtesy of Chrysler LLC)

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Chrysler's new lighter-weight steel is used in the 2008 Chrysler Sebring, which is 13 percent lighter overall. (Photo courtesy of Chrysler LLC)

INSIDELINE.COM - - | DETROIT — Chrysler said this week that it is managing to squeeze the best of both worlds out of new high-strength steel technologies: vehicles that are lighter and more fuel-efficient, but able to meet tough safety standards.

Chrysler, Daimler and the American Iron and Steel Institute made the joint announcement touting the success of a new project that uses "the latest advanced high-strength steels." Overall vehicle weight was cut by up to 13 percent compared to vehicles using conventional high-strength steels and design methods, Chrysler said. New engineering computer-modeling technology helps the companies determine where the material "best serves the structure." Resulting fuel savings are expected to be about 1 percent.

"Chrysler is continually developing improvements in safety and fuel economy, which are usually competing objectives," said Bill Grabowski, Chrysler director of body core engineering.

What this means to you: Your future Chrysler is likely to be more fuel-efficient, thanks to a combination of new materials and advanced design methods

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