Nissan to use ‘green’ Kobe Steel metals in domestic cars

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Nissan will incorporate Kobe Steel products in its domestic car models including the X-Trail sport utility vehicle. (AP pic)
TOKYO: Nissan Motor will use “green” steel and aluminum supplied by Kobe Steel in its domestic car brands to lower carbon dioxide emissions in its supply chain, the companies announced on Monday.
Nissan plans to use Kobenable Premier, a steel product launched in May by major Japanese steelmaker Kobe Steel that eliminates CO2 emissions from the manufacturing process, in domestically built Serena minivans to be sold starting in spring 2023, the two companies said in a joint news release.
The Kobe Steel product was first commercialised in June, when Toyota Motor adopted it to make a racing vehicle. Nissan, however, is the first major domestic automaker to use it in a mass-produced vehicle, according to the carmaker.
Kobe Steel will also supply Nissan with aluminum sheets made using solar power in the smelting process. This will be incorporated into Nissan’s major models sold in Japan, including the Ariya and X-Trail sport utility vehicles.

Steel parts account for around 60% of a vehicle’s weight, while aluminum accounts for 10%, according to Nissan. Nissan and Kobe Steel will discuss how much of the cars’ metal components will be replaced with green ones.
Nissan aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 for its vehicles’ life-cycle emissions. The life cycle refers to all stages, from manufacturing, to use, to scrapping.
At present, 88% of emissions are produced during a vehicle’s time on the road, as most cars still run on gasoline, while emissions from suppliers in the manufacturing stage account for 9%. Nissan expects the share from suppliers to rise as the market shifts to electric vehicles, and emissions from the driving phase to fall. Emissions from components such as batteries and lightweight materials are likely to make up a larger portion of life-cycle carbon emissions. The company hopes to address the expected increase by using low-emission metals from suppliers.
Globally, carmakers, including European brands such as Volvo Group, Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz, have also announced moves to use green steel.

Green metals in general are expected be more expensive than those produced using conventional methods due to the greater technological sophistication needed to make them. Nissan did not say whether using Kobe Steel’s green metals would affect the price of its cars.

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