Volvo hopes to make cars using fossil-free steel

Even the 'bones' of cars could be eco-friendly.

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Jon Fingas
June 16, 2021 10:20 AM
Volvo XC40 Recharge EV
Volvo XC40 Recharge EV (made using conventional steel) Roberto Baldwin/Engadget

Volvo hasn't been shy about wanting greener cars between its electric car plans and efforts to ditch leather, but it's now extending that eco-conscious mindset to the very bodies of those vehicles. As TechCrunch reports, Volvo is partnering with Swedish steel producer SSAB to develop fossil-free steel for cars. The automaker is exploring how SSAB's hydrogen-based steelmaking process could be used to shrink a car's CO2 footprint and make a stronger case for electrified vehicles.

SSAB hopes to mass-produce its fossil-free steel in 2026. Volvo ultimately wants to use the steel in production cars and would be tied to SSAB's progress as a result. You might see results sooner, though, as Volvo is considering a concept car built around the new material.

It's not certain if the new steel will raise the price of cars.

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This could be a significant step for Volvo and the industry as a whole. While Volvo's pure electric cars generate a lower percentage of CO2 from steel and iron production than combustion engine models, at 20 percent versus 35 percent, that's still a significant amount. Fossil-free steel could give Volvo an edge as it competes for green-minded buyers, and might spur rivals to make similar moves.

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