Volvo is to investigate making cars with steel produced without using fossil fuels.

The manufacturer is teaming up with Swedish steel company SSAB for the project, which aims to replace coking coal, traditionally needed for iron ore-based steelmaking, with fossil-free electricity and hydrogen.

According to Volvo, the result is expected to be the world’s first fossil-free steelmaking technology, with virtually no carbon footprint.

Volvo will use SSAB steel for testing purposes, and may also deploy it in a concept car.

SSAB is aiming to produce the steel at a commercial scale by 2026, and Volvo says it is aiming to be the first car manufacturer to use fossil-free steel in its vehicles.

Volvo data shows that currently, steel and iron production accounts for around 35% of the total materials and production-related CO2 emissions with an ICE car, and 20% with an electric car.

Volvo Cars chief executive Håkan Samuelsson said: “As we continuously reduce our total carbon footprint, we know that steel is a major area for further progress.

“The collaboration with SSAB on fossil-free steel development could give significant emission reductions in our supply chain.”

SSAB president and CEO Martin Lindqvist said: “We are building an entirely fossil-free value chain all the way to the end customer. Our breakthrough technology has virtually no carbon footprint and will help strengthen our customer’s competitiveness. 

“Together with Volvo Cars, we aim to develop fossil-free steel products for the cars of the future.”