Jaguar Land Rover showcases lightweight materials project

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has detailed a new project – dubbed Tucana – which will investigate how lightweight composite materials can be used in its vehicles.

The four-year project will see a consortium of industry leaders come together, with businesses such as the Warwick Manufacturing Group, Expert Tooling and Automation and The Centre for Modelling & Simulation (CFMS) joining forces to develop these new materials.

JLR hopes that the programme will make the UK into a world leader in low-carbon technology, helping to stop 4.5 million tonnes of CO2 emissions from entering the atmosphere between 2023 and 2032. This will be achieved through the furthered use or both electric vehicles and lightweight materials which will, in turn, decrease tailpipe emissions.

The research will look into the development of lightweight vehicle and powertrain structures which will swap out aluminium and steel composites with lightweight composites which will still be able to handle the increased torque and stress brought on by high-performance powertrains.

By using these materials, JLR hopes to increase overall vehicle stiffness by 30 per cent while also shedding up to 35kg of weight. The lower vehicle weight will also allow for larger batteries, therefore increasing the amount of range offered by electric vehicles.

Jaguar Land Rover plans to have a fleet of prototype Tucana test vehicles by next year.

Marcus Henry, research manager at Jaguar Land Rover, said: “The development of new lightweight body structures to complement the latest zero-emissions powertrains will be key as the electrification of our vehicle range continues. This project will allow the true environmental credentials of electric vehicles to be realised by enabling wider adoption of the technology and will propel Jaguar Land Rover and the UK supply chain into a world-leading position in low-carbon technology.”