Steel is the Material of Choice for the Chevy Volt Fuel Tank

Chevy Volt

The 2011 Chevrolet Volt – an extended range plug-in electric vehicle – has excited the automotive market. The vehicle offers a small, gasoline engine to augment the electric drive motor, avoiding the range anxiety associated with electric-only vehicles. The Volt can travel 40 to 50 miles in an all-electric drive mode. From there, the internal combustion engine (ICE) takes over for an additional 300 miles or until the battery can be recharged.

Chevy Volt Steel Fuel TankBecause of the significant electric drive range, the steel fuel tank, which is produced by Spectra Premium Inc., of the ICE is sealed to avoid problems with vapor build up in the carbon canister. The high pressures require a highly rigid steel tank. The small 9.3 gallon tank is made of 1.4 mm thick hot-dip tin-zinc coated steel, supplied by SASFT member Nippon Steel, to resist external and internal (fuels) corrosion. Despite the 1.4 mm thickness, the tank is 26 pounds (11.8 kg), which is much lighter than other sealed steel tanks with up to 2.0 mm thickness.

Automakers are increasingly producing sealed or pressurized tanks for advanced hybrid vehicles. That’s why SASFT is helping to develop lighter steel tanks for advanced hybrid vehicles by using thinner high-strength steels. Since plastic does not meet the rigidity requirement, steel will be the material of choice for these tanks.

About the Strategic Alliance for Steel Tanks (SASFT)
The Strategic Alliance for Fuel Tanks (SASFT) is an international alliance of companies specializing in the various areas of fuel tank production, possessing a common interest in the development, optimization and application of steel fuel tanks for automobiles. SASFT was organized by the American Iron and Steel Institute in 2000 to bring together the diverse business disciplines involved in designing, manufacturing and supplying steel fuel tanks in the automotive market. For more information on SASFT, please visit