General Motors invests in NanoSteel, hopes to lighten its load

What's the simplest way to improve fuel efficiency? Build a lighter car, of course. That's GM's plan, at least, and it's taking its first step toward a more efficient future by investing in a nano-structured materials design firm called NanoSteel. "Over the next several years, light-weighting of vehicles will be a major focus area to improve fuel economy." GM's Jon Lauckner said of the deal. The nano-structured Advanced High Strength Steel (AHSS) GM's betting on has the potential to shave excess pounds off of a vehicle without sacrificing structural integrity. It's easier to work with too, and can be shaped and cut without being heated. The size of GM's contribution to the cause hasn't been disclosed, but NanoSteel CEO Dave Paratore seems encouraged by the partnership, stating that it will allow them to "accelerate the final phases of development" for its nano-structured AHSS. Maybe together, the two firms can meet President Obama's 2025 mileage goal. Read on for the official press release.

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NanoSteel Announces GM Ventures Investment

Breakthrough design for automotive advanced high-strength steel

Performance capabilities could be 'game changer' for $100+ billion automotive steel market

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (Monday, August 6, 2012) - The NanoSteel® Company, a leader in nano-structured steel materials design, today announced that General Motors Ventures LLC has invested in the company.

GM Ventures, a General Motors subsidiary created to invest in promising automotive technologies, joined lead shareholders EnerTech Capital and Fairhaven Capital Partners and five existing investors to complete the Series C financing round. Terms of the GM Ventures investment were not disclosed.

"We are investing in NanoSteel because of the opportunity associated with their new steel alloy technology," said Jon Lauckner, GM's chief technology officer, vice president of Global R&D and president of GM Ventures LLC. "Over the next several years, light-weighting of vehicles will be a major focus area to improve fuel economy. NanoSteel's nano-structured alloys offer unique material characteristics that are not available today, making them a potential game-changer."

Through the development of patented alloys, NanoSteel has created a new class of steel that allows automotive engineers and designers to reduce weight through the use of thinner, higher strength gauges while maintaining the structural integrity needed for safety. NanoSteel's new steel design is an alternative to other light-weighting materials which may cost more, require new investment in parts production and have performance limitations.

"GM Ventures investment in NanoSteel demonstrates its confidence in our company's potential to achieve widespread impact on the auto industry through our proprietary steel designs," said Dave Paratore, president and CEO of NanoSteel. "With the support of General Motors' automotive expertise and technology leadership, we can accelerate the final phases of development of our nano-structured AHSS in the quest to economically lightweight vehicles."

Reducing vehicle weight is critical to automakers in achieving higher fuel efficiencies and meeting rigorous new U.S. Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards.