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Why aren’t cars made from Stainless Steel?

Why aren’t cars made from Stainless Steel?

Tesla’s making their new Cybertruck out
of stainless steel, another bold move from a company that likes to rip up the rulebooks. But is it actually a good idea? Why has only one other stainless steel car
been mass produced, and that ended in bankruptcy? Will it be different for Tesla, or is the
new Cybertruck a big white elephant? (music) Stainless steel was invented by accident. An English metallurgist, Harry Brearly, was
trying to improve rifle barrels just before the first world war. He found that adding chromium to steel inhibited
its natural tendency to rust. This is because of a chromium-rich oxide coating
that seals the metal from the elements. But it wasn’t until the 1930s until people
thought of using stainless steel on cars. The Allegheny Ludlum Steel company approached
Ford Motor company with the idea of creating a vehicle to help them sell more stainless
steel. Ford obliged and produced 6 unpainted Ford
Model 68 Deluxes. Allegheny Ludlum loaned them out each year
to their top salesmen. The cars were on the road for ten years and
each logged over 200,000 miles. The shiny bodies are still in excellent condition
and have held up better than the rusting steel chassis! But here’s the first reason as to why we
don’t see more stainless steel cars on the road. A retired Allegheny Ludlum employee revealed
that when the cars were originally produced the dies were ruined by stamping out the stainless
steel parts from the harder material. So, to produce cars from stainless steel,
car makers must spend additional money making dies that could withstand stamping out stainless
steel parts day in, day out. The Tesla Cybertruck uses cold-rolled stainless
steel, and that’s even harder than regular stainless steel, and this makes the problem
even worse. Ford agreed to another collaboration with
Allegheny Ludlum in 1960 to produce two Ford Thunderbirds. The original 1936 cars had been very shiny,
but with the update they went for a brushed finish, and I’m sure other motorists thanked
them for it! After the issue with dies with the 1936 car,
Ford waited until the end of the car’s production run before damaging the dies producing the
stainless steel cars! Again, Allegheny Ludlum used it to help publicise
stainless steel and they toured the USA drumming up business. The new cars used stainless steel exhausts
and mufflers, and they must be the only 1960s cars still around today with their original
exhausts! Ford and Allegheny Ludlum collaborated one
last time with three stainless steel 1967 Lincoln Continental convertibles. If you want to see all three in their glory,
you can find them at the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum in Cleveland, OH. By the 1950s mainstream car manufacturers
were dabbling with stainless steel, making small car parts such as hubcaps. GM went one step further in 1958 with the
Cadillac Eldorado Brougham which featured a stainless steel roof. They did the same to the 1979 Cadillac Eldorado
Biarritz. Maserati’s 1971 Bora also featured a stainless
steel roof along with stainless steel windscreen pillars. But each part was a simple shape, to make
production easier. It would take a maverick car company executive
to build a whole car from stainless steel. And that person was John DeLorean, a young
high-flying GM vice president who one day quit his job to start his own car company. He decided his first car, the DMC DeLorean
would be brushed stainless steel, and the DeLorean Motor Company was probably the only
car company without a paint shop! Only three cars sold to customers would be
anything other than plain brushed stainless steel, and those were plated with 24-carat
gold! Yes, a company mad enough to put gull wing
doors on a car decided it would be a good idea to make a car that was covered entirely
in real gold! The car’s finish looked a little rough up
close, but it had the advantage that small scratches could be taken out with a non-metallic
scouring pad. Never worry about getting your car “keyed”
ever again! However, some customers didn’t like the
unfinished stainless steel look, so took their cars to a paint shop to get the colour they
wanted. But stainless steel had several disadvantages
that have kept it from wider adoption: • It doesn’t rust
It seems silly to put this as a disadvantage, but to car companies who’ve built their
entire business around selling you a new car every five years or so, having a car that
doesn’t decay isn’t that great. There are also Government incentives that
encourage customers back to car dealers every few years. With tight profit margins, many car companies
rely on things like leasing agreements to stay in business and changing that may cause
the business unforeseen financial problems. • It’s expensive
Stainless steel is more expensive than regular steel, and when margins are so tight, why
add extra cost to the vehicle? • It’s hard
As we talked about before, stainless steel is a harder metal, which makes it harder to
form into the final shape for the car. It’s also more difficult to weld. • It’s harder to repair
With a steel car if there’s a dent you can use filler and paint to hide the problem. With stainless steel, especially unpainted
stainless steel, the only option is to try to restore it to its original shape, which
is hard enough with regular steel, but harder with tougher stainless steel. Most stainless steel cars produced weren’t
painted at all, because they didn’t need to be. But to many people, choosing the colour of
their car is a big part of the process. There’s a good reason why Ford’s come
in more than black these days! And if you’re going to paint the car, then
the car looks no more different from normal car bodies that were becoming much more rust
resistant by the late 1970s. Car companies did this by first getting better
at rust proofing. Then they started galvanising the metal, and
companies like Audi started making their bodies from aluminium that doesn’t rust anyway,
and it’s softer than steel so easier to form. Aluminium welding is trickier, but over time
they’ve found ways to master it. So, this brings us to Tesla’s Cybertruck. They’ve opted to go for an even harder form
of stainless steel – a grade they’ll use on the SpaceX Starship – so let’s see
how those same disadvantages stack up. • The five year car buying cycle
Tesla isn’t as affected by making a car that will last more than five years before
needing to be replaced. As I mentioned before, steel car bodies don’t
rust like they used to, and the other components of a Tesla look like they’ll last ten years
or more. Tesla’s a company in expansion, so it’s
less reliant on repeat business than its customers. • Stainless steel is expensive
This will still impact Tesla, but they’ll use less metal as the stainless steel body
will be used as a stressed member to make the car more rigid. And with a starting price of $40,000, it seems
the added cost of stainless steel isn’t going to impact the final car price very much. • It’s hard
There’s a good reason the Cybertruck is all angles. Instead of bending the metal, it’s simply
cut out and welded together. Tesla and SpaceX are learning to weld this
material on an industrial scale, and like Audi with aluminium they believe that they
can solve the problem. • Repair
This one may be harder to solve. But Tesla’s claiming the Cybertruck can
withstand some major impacts, so maybe fender benders just won’t be a big issue. But larger repairs could be a major expense,
and repair shops will need to learn a whole new set of skills. But that very strength could be an issue when
the car’s released. Elon stated in the Cybertruck reveal that
the body “is literally bulletproof to a nine millimetre handgun”. The “transparent aluminium” windows, while
breaking during the presentation, have been shown to shatter, but not allow bullets through. With a fast 0-60 time and a bulletproof exterior,
will the Cybertruck become the go to vehicle for the criminal underworld? A big thank you to all my Patrons for supporting
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97 thoughts on “Why aren’t cars made from Stainless Steel?

  1. You say "Tesla is building" they aren't building anything yet, you should say they plan to build. Two years is a long time between plan and execution.

  2. Tesla has solve the problems with the hard material being formed; he's going to have a bunch of employees beat them out with hammers in the parking lot

  3. You might as well ask why aren't cars made of lead, or ice cream cones. Up until very recently, it was just the wrong material (as you point out).

  4. I am somewhat upset that I had to get on the world wide web and watch a video made by a man in the UK to learn about a car museum in the city I was born, raised and live in lol.

  5. It took me a moment to figure out what you were talking about. Brougham is pronounced "Brome" (like loan) in the US. Another of those English English pronunciations, like how we drop the 'ea' from coupe.

  6. You forgot another problem with the cyber truck. There is no deformation of the body during a crash, no crumple zones to reduce passenger impact. It is doubtful that that will be accepted in the US, EU and other countries.

  7. I want to know what pedestrian crash ratings it will get.

    thats the real reason why all cars look the same nowadays and are ugly. so how did musk tackle that, or did he just skip that?

  8. The Delorean wasn't really a stainless car. It had a steel chassis, a glass fibre body with clip on thin stainless panels. The original intention was there but got watered down as the reality of production set in. The only structural stainless parts were the the doors.

  9. With no plastic bumpers in the way to absorb those 'fender bender' accidents, the panels will have to be resistant to denting. Otherwise it's an expensive repair.

    Some of those angles look futuristic, but not very good for pedestrian safety.

    At 6:57 did you mean competitors?

  10. I'm quite certain this yet another Tesla gimmick. As has been shown with past models, Tesla isn't good about costing out the parts to come to a profitable price. As another Ford executive once said, if the part costs less than 1/200 of a cent, we give it to the customer for free. If the Cybertruck doesn't sell in the forecast numbers, Tesla will take a financial beating with something worse than a sledgehammer. They'll take an even worse beating if it isn't costed closely enough and it turns out to be a big seller. They'd lose even more money total under that scenario. The late, lamented BMC had experience with this problem selling the Mini. Stainless steel, especially cold rolled, is a very expensive metal to produce and work with. There's a reason why major buildings, that have no five year replacement cycle, aren't generally built with stainless steel. Finally, there are still Federal safety standards to meet in terms of body integrity for impact and rollover. I've heard nothing about the Cybertruck meeting those standards.

  11. Great vid on points with using stainless steel n history car manufacturing using stainless steel.👍 I believe Tesla won’t build because they don’t have factory that can build in big numbers but will find way putting cybertruck together if they can afford newer bigger factory.

  12. Nothing has been said about the Cybertrucks crash rating it must be compromised by making it out of stainless? No crumble zones? And what about its pedestrian rating lots of sharp angles to maim people with

  13. Its a joke car, one of the engineers at space-x said, i bet i can build car from these sheet metal plate we bought too much of, and there you have it.

  14. Stainless steel panels copper-brazed with flanged stainless steel cylindrical tubes are the way to go! Checkout BROAD Group's BCore Stainless Steel Building Material, which can be used to develop cars, buildings, ships, and bridges using stainless steel material. In one of their marketing presentations, "bcore slab – Broad U.S.A. Inc.", they even depict what could be termed CYBERTRAIN.

  15. Cars aren´t built to last because people who buy new cars usually don´t drive them untill they fall apart. They usually sell them after 2-5 years and buy a new one. Durability isn´t a criteria for them. They don´t care if the car lasts 10, 20 or 30 years. They won´t have it anymore then.

    And why did delorean end in bankruptcy? The car was expensive and it was a bit slow for a sporty car,

  16. "Steel car bodies don't rust like they used to" Yes they do… I see alot of new cars that are suprisingly rusty after just 4-5 years.
    They had a period where manufactures where good at rustproofing and then went backwards in later time. And some manufactures have never been good at rustproofing.

  17. The Cybertruck looks like Kryten from Red Dwarf. The actor that played Kryten is now the biggest EV evangelist on YouTube. Coincidence?

  18. Musk said Tesla would use a score-and-fold method of construction for the Cybertruck, which largely explains the styling. Some of the panels, such as the inside of the doors for example, are clearly still stamped though. I wonder if they just plan to suck up the cost of replacing those stampers, or if they've got some other magic trick in mind? Also, who the hell calls anything 'cyber' in 2019?

  19. Sounds a little, like DeLOREAN went bankrupt because of the stainless steel they used, but the reasons were others, as you know! Aluminum doesnt rust, but oxidizes as well and like hell if the surface is demaged just a little. Especially at the front, after your car was hit by a micro stone you'll see how "rusty" Aluminium can be after a short while, like it happened to my CADILLACs hood lately!!! And if you own an AUDI, you hate to buy doors from time to time, after your car was hit by another car owner at the supermarket parking lot. The AUDI dealer loves you, because often just replaceing spare parts… To expensive to repair the expensive parts! D/A/G

  20. The design of the Cybertruck saves them the massive cost of sheetmetal stamping tools. The downside is higher assembly cost, but makes sense at low volumes.

  21. I would add another point: crash tests.

    With steel panels being used to absorb energy in crashes, I am curious about how Tesla solved this approach in the CyberTruck

  22. You didn't mention that stainless also suffers from fatigue far more than regular steel, although this could be designed around mostly.

  23. Interesting and well presented. I’ve been following the starship builds at both their sites, they have lots of scrap stainless steel. I also remember an episode of “Wheeler Dealer” where Edd China refurbished a deLorean, he had to bring in a specialist for the body repairs. Thanks from Orlando.

  24. Excellent video and a good idea for a subject. Those early Fords were amazing. I take the point about dies wearing out but I would have thought there were new hard materials that would solve this. It's pretty clear that stainless steel is not a good chioce for bodywork, but galvanized steel is a different matter. I have a 23 year old Cinquecento and there is no rust anywhere.

  25. Re the comments about Audi; technically, aluminium doesn't rust because that term applies to ferrous oxide, but it does corrode, crumbling into powder. Broadly speaking, only pure aluminium doesn't corrode because it forms an oxide layer that, ironically, prevents any more oxidisation occurring. Unfortunately, pure aluminium is way too soft to make anything structural out of so it has to be alloyed with other elements and then it needs protecting as much as the steel used for conventional vehicles.

  26. Yes, I'm going to finally ditch my trusty Transit van, used primarily for leaving onve I've done 'business', for a Cybertruck. It will be perfect, as it will just blend into the carpark as the rozzers fly past without noticing. No more "Blimey mate, that was a bit close…" Bulletproof will be super-convenient for difficult collections too. I'll probably cut a few gun ports into it for added peace of mind. My only concerns are: will that void my warranty & how many airbags does it have?

  27. Thank God we today have downsized engines with exhaust gas recycling so the engines die before the car can start rusting.
    Correction: Aluminium isn´t "rusting" as steel but it´s degrading as well.

  28. You miss One big disadvantage. It's to hard so it will not stand the crash test. All energy will travel to the passengers and kill them. Thats why modern cars crumble as the do at crash-test. To absorb the crash energy. BMW had that problem at the second 3-series. It was so hard so the safety belts snapped.

  29. Slight contradiction – car manufacturers apparently didn't want cars that didn't rust as it would affect their business model…but car manufacturers also researched and implemented ways to prevent and in Audi's case eliminate rust. This would lead me to believe that it was not really a factor in avoiding using stainless steel. In fact given the difficulty in repair there could have been a big market for replacement panels.

  30. Cybertruck is surely a joke? The way ahead is plastic, light and strong. Stainless steel is basically the answer to a non-existent problem but comes with a host of its own problems.  The goal is to make an electric car that performs like a petrol car in every way. Silly getting side tracked with Teslas marketing stunts.

  31. No mention of safety in collisions. The harder car will just obliterate anything it hits instead of crumpling like all other cars. This is a mixed blessing depending on if you are in the truck or in the thing being hit

  32. Cybertruck looked ugly at first, then refreshingly nice, then ugly, then … well still ugly or at least hard to digest. Hope I am wrong!

  33. The Cyber truck isn’t anything more than a proof of concept demonstration prop. The shatterproof/bulletproof windows, while neat, wont make it to production for side window but maybe windshields and rear windows: US DOT won’t let it happen because it restricts emergency crews during rescues. As for the stainless steel bodies…yes it’s more durable but like you said it’s also more expensive so I’m hedging my bets that it’s going to be used for the unibody and in key areas but the rest (because the final shape of the truck isn’t set yet) of the truck will still be plastic/fiberglass/steel because as you stated repairs would be very hard otherwise. Good video 👍

  34. Highly dangerous device for pedestrians. A razor sharp edged front in high strength steel, at the height of a child’s head and the breast, heard and liver of an adult. With it’s semi bulletproof glass it’s probably going the preferred vehicle of the terrorists wannabes and other criminals. I think it should be outlawed.

  35. Fascinating as ever … Zinc coating. The most hideous design ever, painful to look at but the younger generation seem to like it so what do I know.

  36. Very informative vid again. 😎

    Regrettably…the "thing" looks so horribly ugly and…it surely have massive blindspots. Can't image what it do to pedestrians etc…sharp angles/ hard and tough materials….yeah, gonna be a real killer truck.
    Maybe Tesla have a awarding system for drivers and rate the way … pedestrians/ cyclists etc…with different points??( hmmm….there's been a rotten tomato movie with David Carradine…in the 70s, about such a behavior. Damn, think the producer must been an family member from….🤔🤔🤔)

  37. They should at least make passenger compartments out of stainless steel, to improve crash safety.

  38. All the 'Toughness" of the Tesla truck is stated a lot. What no one seems to be worrying about is that in the event of a Major crash. How exactly are the rescue workers supposed to get in and save you??

  39. Manufacturers should at least use stainless steel for brake lines. This is a life-death issue. From my experience, rusted brake lines burst exactly when you need to brake. No matter that you have 37 airbags in the car, you are going to hit something or, even worse, somebody.

  40. The cost to insure and repair this vehicle will be expensive, stainless steel is 4 X expensive.. Cybertruck will be a vehicle only for the rich

  41. Yes, this is interesting, revealing more reasons than I knew about with stainless steel cars, and those Fords, wow! How about making a video on cars made from carbon fibre? a common material now on planes and bicycles, but what about cars? Alan, UK.

  42. Stainless steel is actually a diverse family of alloys. There's the austenitic steels (chromium and nickel), ferritics, martensitics, dual-phase, and precipitation-hardening stainless steels. Most cars have ferritic s.s exhausts, and your quality kitchen knife is martensitic. Austenites have been used for many, many applications… but indeed, hardly for cars .

  43. Very interesting and well-presented video as always – thank you! There was a Stainless Steel aircraft (Bristol 188) manufactured in the UK in the early 1960s to study the effects of kinetic heating that arise from flying at very high speeds for long periods. They too found that stainless steel was a very difficult material from which to fabricate the complex shape of an air frame and new construction methods were developed. For various reasons, the aircraft was not a success, and only 3 were ever built.

  44. 7:40 ish If you look closely. There’s damage on that sled hammered door skin. Upper seam has a bent where he hit.

  45. You couldn't me more wrong about manufacturers want cars to rust. Up here in the rust belt, rusty cars cost manufacturers dearly in repeat business. Brands with reputations for rust have trouble selling cars. Currently Mazda has rust issues. About the only company that does. When I bought my Accord, I didn't even look at Mazda, even though it has a great reputation otherwise. Look at Toyota, no rust issues, cars last longer than anyone else, they sell lots of new cars.

  46. The main problem with Tesla is their lack of rationale. Their track record clearly shows an overestimation of their own capabilities in addition to an underestimation of what it takes to get the job done as promised. The clearest example of this is the software "downdate" wherein Tesla STOLE 11% of their owners battery capacity, and then offered a clearly fabricated excuse that it was done to protect battery health and overall longevity. The truth? It was really done by Tesla, for Tesla, in order to protect Tesla from having to replace batteries that were obviously overestimated in respect to their capacity, which caused a number of fires. And the reason this is so problematic is that their batteries represent the very foundation of the entire company. This should cause most people to have legitimate trust issues in regard to doing business with them.

    Below are the source articles.



  47. Deish (or criminals) might order the Cybertruck, but I'm not so sure they'll be so keen on Tesla cars that talk to each other.

  48. Note, because these trucks wont be the weekest participant in a collision they will rarely if ever be effected by low soeed collisions, the weekest link breaks first. What may become an issue is high speed collisions, no one is talking about crash crumple zones yet…

  49. I think the buying cycle/planned obsolescence thing is much less of an issue to sales than you would think. There are a section of society who buy a new car, keep it as long as its reasonably reliable without major repairs (say 7-10 years) and then replace. However most people either buy new cars, or they buy used cars, and often people will buy at a similar age (of car) each time. New sales are primarily driven by finance deals, PCP is designed to trap people into replacing a car every 3 years, because after the 3 years is up they would need to pay out about half the cars value to keep it, whereas by just continuing to pay the low monthly rate (and a deposit which will be much smaller than the payment owed on the old car) they can get something new – which is flashier etc. This means that very few people who actually buy a new car are worried about how long it lasts – they only own it whilst its warrantied and pre-MOT. Theres a couple of other things to note, body work condition is hardly ever the cause for scrapping a car, theres usually far more rust under the car than on the body unless it suffered some damage which wasnt repaired. So unless they start making subframes out of stainless steel, the cars life expectancy will be the same. As an additional factor for Tesla, its got a battery, which will likely last around 10 years, which any decent well maintained car should last anyway. So, cars are more likely to be scrapped due to poor battery range than body corrosion.
    Really, replacing a car you bought new because it fell to bits after 5 years hasn't been the case for over 20 years, and longer for many manufacturers – which is of course why they invented the finance deals to boost sales.
    I think the other factors, about the technical difficulties and the lack of colour wer very interesting, but at the end of the day, unless you make the whole thing out of a rust proof material, its still gonna die. I have an Avantime, plastic body is obviously mint 17 years on, glavanised chassis also looking pretty good, but everything attached to the chassis (subframe, suspension, various brackets and supports), all rusting away far too fast. I will have to strip it down and galvanize everything at some point so it lasts.

  50. I’m no Tesla fan boy but this video was pure anti-Tesla propaganda. In your next video please indicate which car company or stock market brokerage firm or which oil company funds your videos. After bad mouthing Tesla throughout the video you actually stooped so low and attempt to associate the vehicle with organized crime. How feeble and pathetic was that, it must mean Tesla is doing something right.

  51. indeed its been commented elsewhere that the cybertruck is made from a single piece of cold rolled stainless steel. its either cut or scored by laser and then folded to the desired shape. this is why it looks so boxy on the outside. tesla have spent a while going back to the drawing board minimising the costs associated with car production. stamping dyes and production lines are costly and inflexible!

  52. The Audi thing is a myth and misunderstanding. Audi started making cars that were fully galvanized after welding, by bathing the entire car in the galvanizing bath after it's been welded. Other car manufacturers just take galvanized sheet metal and weld that, which is why they start to rot at the seams. To some, this impossibly rust-resistant treatment apparently meant it must be aluminium. Anyhow, Audi did make the front body panels of the second generation Audi TT in 2007 out of aluminium, but that was long after the aluminium myth had been established. Generally the "Audis are aluminium" is a false, however.

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