The N-Van without the center pillar on the side of the front passenger's seat Photo: HONDA
tech

Honda employs 1.5GPa-class high-tensile steel plate for N-Van

12 Comments
By Takashi Takada

Honda Motor Co Ltd has used a high-tensile steel plate with a 1.5GPa-class tensile strength for the N-Van commercial light car (van).

This is the first time that Honda has employed a 1.5GPa-class high-tensile steel plate for a light car. The company released the N-Van on July 13.

To make it easier to load/unload packages, Honda eliminated the center pillar on the side of the front passenger's seat. On the other hand, the removal of the center pillar lowers the strength of the body frame, making it difficult to secure safety against side crashes.

For the new vehicle, a 1.5GPa-class high-tensile steel plate (hot-pressed material) was applied to the front and rear door frames on the front passenger's side to play the role of the center pillar. Specifically, the 1.5GPa-class plate is used for the vertical frame between the front door and the sliding rear door.

Moreover, Honda employed a hook mechanism so that (1) the upper and lower parts of the front and rear doors mesh with the body frames and (2) the front door meshes with the rear door. As a result, even when a strong impact is applied to the front and rear doors on the front passenger's side at the time of a side impact, it is possible to prevent the doors from entering the passenger compartment, the company said.

© Nikkei Technology Online

©2018 GPlusMedia Inc.

12 Comments
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death trap. ever seen one of those mini cars after a wreck?

1 ( +6 / -5 )

A very clever design; let us give credit to the Honda Motor Company engineering team. They thought outside the box and moved (empirically speaking) the centre pillar function into the door frames of the front and read doors, respectively.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Looks good.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Several times i could have done with one of these.

This would be good for driving my disabled brother-in-law to shops and medical appointments.

Also for when i buy DIY materials. Currently i have to use a trailor with my current car.

Also handy to carry my bycycle.

I wonder how much it would cost to buy and export it to the UK.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Hmm... the steel was a point but the whole centre pillar thing is nothing new. See https://www.topgear.com/car-reviews/ford/b-max# for example.

Mind you, didn't like that car much, either!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yes - centre pillarless cars have been around for generations.

Originally known as "hardtops" many had only a seat height pillar or no B pillar at all.

Probably first appeared in American cars, but most major companies have produced them including Japanese like Toyota and Nissan.

The use of high tensile steel to strengthen the door frames is a good, necessary idea, but there must still be a vulnerability in occupant safety in the case of a direct forceful side-on impact.

I had a VH Valiant pillarless hardtop many moons ago but it was only 2 doors. Don't know how they reinforced the side areas - perhaps they didn't.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Clever use of material and construction. Looks good and solid for most hard impacts. Even cars with a B pillar will give way under extreme hits. Many years ago I had a Toyota Carina ED with no central pillar, so as posters above have said, that alone is not new.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

browny1Aug. 19 10:28 am JST

Yes - centre pillarless cars have been around for generations.

Originally known as "hardtops" many had only a seat height pillar or no B pillar at all.

Incorrect. The 'hardtops' you speak about DO have a B-pillar, it's just that it only went as high as the doors. The side rear doors were hinged to the 'half' B-pillar.

This Honda van is completely "pillarless" between the doors.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I would like to see these cars go through the European ENCAP safety tests, something tells me it won't end well.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Many years ago I saw an accident between Volvo car and a Fiat panda on a roundabout, the owner of the Volvo had a few scuff marks on his bumper, the Police swept up the remains of the Fiat panda. enough said

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Many years ago I saw an accident between Volvo car and a Fiat panda on a roundabout, the owner of the Volvo had a few scuff marks on his bumper, the Police swept up the remains of the Fiat panda. enough said

Depends which Volvo. A driver in a older generation Volvo will be facing more injuries than those driving new generation lighter mid-size European cars.

The safety claims made by Volvo in the past are were exaggerated and people were buying it. The first safety innovations were made my Daimler Benz decades ago.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

hillclimber - thanks.

Yes I know many hardtops had a b pillar which is why i said they were only seat height. In many cases they offered little pillar safety value at all and were in reality just door hinging points.

I guess I was referring to the 2 door hardtops with no pillars at all. Although some people would call them coupes and not hardtops.

I believe there have been some other "no b pillars at all" cars made over the years, similar to the Honda, but Iacking any safe rigidity / protection in a side impact. Maybe mazda and bmw made ones and some of the older euro firms like peugot - but I'm not sure. Perhaps someone knows.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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