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A Steel for Ford: OEM wins Automotive Excellence Award for innovations in advanced high-strength steel

Southfield, Michigan — The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) has awarded this year’s Automotive Excellence Award to Ford for its advanced high-strength steel innovations in the all-electric 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E.

The award was presented by John Catterall, vice president of AISI’s automotive program, at the 20th annual Great Designs in Steel (GDIS) in-person symposium at Suburban Collection Showplace. Mark Mikolaiczik, formerly a North American engineering body exterior chief engineer at Ford, received the award for his GDIS 2021 presentation, titled “Mustang Mach-E.”

Ford developed a platform to capture the spirit and performance of the Mustang brand while offering an all-new driving experience through an electric all-wheel drive (eAWD). The vehicle also provides excellent occupant and storage space. Ford’s application of high-strength steel, which represents more than 50 percent of the Mustang Mach-E body’s structural weight and 25.2 percent of its body material, is said to allow for optimal strength-to-weight that delivers stellar safety ratings with an exciting driving dynamic.

While the overall vehicle weight increased by 36 percent because of electrification, that led to the development of unique body load path solutions and the use of Martensite 1700 MPa steel to meet crash requirements and protect the battery system, said the AISI.

“Automotive Excellence Award winners use advanced high-strength steel in applications to provide the best value for consumers while also improving vehicle performance, range and sustainability,” said Catterall. “Steel is driving innovation, and Mike and the Ford team are a great example of the capability of incorporating these next-generation steel grades in electric vehicles.”

The AISI Automotive Excellence Award is presented each year at GDIS. Individuals or teams from automakers, suppliers or the academic community have revolutionized the industry and made significant contributions to the advancement of steel in the automotive market. Award winners are chosen from presenters at the previous year’s GDIS seminar.

Candidates are rated in several categories, including challenges and benefits associated with cost, mass reduction and performance, overall contribution to the advancement of steel and implementation in production.

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