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Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp prepares for the take-off of electric vehicles (EV)

Published on December 24, 2017

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Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal

The Japan biggest steel maker, Kosei Shindo, president of Nippon Steel, disclosed in an interview with Reuters that he is expanding his focus from steel alone to materials that could be used to produce electric vehicles.

He explained the possibility of teaming up with makers of other materials to meet up with the trend of electric vehicles as it has been included as a major item in his three-year business plan which starting in April, 2018.

Shindo said, “I think the auto industry is at a turning point in terms of technology. We need to advance our technology to meet this mega trend towards EVs.”

As auto makers around the globe are shifting to EVs due to tighter global emissions regulations, reducing the weight of a vehicle becomes a critical issue.

Batteries are a factor that contributes to the weight of vehicles; fewer batteries will generally lead to a reduction in the weight.

Experts in the industry envisaged that by 2030 plug-in hybrid, petrol-electric vehicles and all-battery EVs will account for 26 percent of global car sales in contrast to the 1 percent recorded last year.

Shindo added that steel will ever remain the main material for vehicles as it offers the cheapest cost in relation to strength.

In his words, “I don’t expect to see sudden switches to EVs in one or two years as automakers face issues to overcome such electric infrastructure.

“But we want to map out and begin our strategy in the next three years to cope with technological innovation in an auto industry”, Shindo added.

Faced with competitions from aluminium, carbon fibre and other light materials producers, Shindo disclosed that they might ally with suppliers of such brand.

Shindo said, “We’ll take steps to reflect demand from our customers and technological development in an auto industry.”

Responding to question on further alliances with Kobe Steel which had been accused of data-falsification, Shindo said, “Our alliance will not change.”

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