Honda has made a breakthrough with newly developed technology to join steel and aluminum, and have applied it to enable adoption of aluminum for an outer door panel, which had previously been made of steel. What this means for consumers is that this new process gives them the ability to create door panels that are steel on the inside and aluminum on the outside. This cuts the weight of the door panels by roughly 17%, which should reduce fuel consumption and dynamic performance of Honda vehicles. They also mention that “In addition, weight reduction at the outer side of the vehicle body enables [us] to concentrate the point of gravity toward the center of the vehicle, contributing to improved stability in vehicle maneuvering.” This technology will be coming first in vehicles for North American consumption — something that will certainly excite our customers here in the greater Edmonton area with our ever-fluctuating gas prices.
To join together the dissimilar metals of steel and aluminum, the simultaneous establishment of several different technologies was required such as technologies to prevent corrosion (electrical corrosion) and thermal deformation caused by the different expansion rates of steel and aluminum.
Honda newly developed three technologies that enabled adoption of aluminum for the outer door panel.
The advantages of these new technologies include elimination of a spot welding process required to join conventional steel door panels. Moreover, these technologies do not require a dedicated process; as a result, existing production lines can accommodate these new technologies.
Honda has been making a number of efforts to further reduce vehicle weight. In 2012, with the North American version of the all-new 2013 Accord, Honda began mass-production of a front subframe featuring the steel-aluminum hybrid structure that was made possible by the Friction Stir Welding (FSW) technology.
We are thrilled here at Wheaton Honda to see this kind of innovation being brought to our products, and can’t wait for it to make its way to our showroom in the coming years!
Source: Honda Worldwide Press Release