Published on October 23rd, 2020 | by Subhash Nair0
Why are Jaguar Land Rover Testing New Materials?
With the automotive industry marching ever on towards further electrification, one thing has become clear – cars need to start getting lighter again. Safety standards have made it so that modern cars regularly tip the scales at close to 2 tonnes, especially once a sizeable lithium ion battery is part of the equation. Most modern electric vehicles are fast, that’s undisputed. What’s really tough to do is to deliver decent range on a full charge. Even Porsche’s Taycan struggles to deliver the kind of range a top-shelf Model S can do.
Which is why brands have started to experiment with new ways to cut costs. Just last month, Nissan held a press conference to tell the world that they’d revolutionised the manufacturing process of carbon fibre parts, which would allow them to build electric SUVs that weighed much less. Today, we’re also hearing that Jaguar Land Rover would be beginning to research advanced lightweight metals and composites for use in future vehicles.
Part of this research will cover how these new materials respond to different environments. They’ll use aerospace-grade equipment to accurately project the way these materials will age over time. Most Jaguar Land Rover products heavily rely on aluminium. As with any company, being overly reliant on just one supply line can be a big gamble, especially when prices of the material are determined by the market. Perhaps diversifying into something like carbon fibre, where most of the costs are related to manufacturing, could be better for JLR’s long-term survival.
It’ll be interesting to see what other materials JLR are considering for future products.
For more on this, check out the press release below.
Jaguar Land Rover is taking part in pioneering research trials to test the capability of advanced lightweight metals and composites to be used in future vehicles.
As part of a two-year project, the company will use technology developed for the aerospace industry to understand how materials respond to corrosive environments, in global markets and over rigorous terrains.
Samples of new metals and composites planned for use in future Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles will be built into aerospace-grade sensors and put through their paces in some of the world’s most extreme physical conditions, tested for over 400,000km across North America.
The sensors will continuously measure the performance of the materials and share data with the Jaguar Land Rover’s product development team in the UK. With this information, the engineers can accurately forecast the material’s behaviour in the development of future vehicle programmes to ensure that next-generation lightweight metals meet the company’s stringent standards, delivering a longer-lasting, high quality finish.
The research forms part of Gesamtverband der Aluminiumindustrie (GDA), a consortium of aluminium manufacturers and car makers researching the longevity of materials and how they can be made lighter and more durable.
Working with industry leaders across quality assurance and manufacturing to develop future lightweight vehicles, increasing efficiency and reducing emissions further is a key part of Jaguar Land Rover’s Destination Zero vision – a future with zero emissions, zero accidents and zero congestion.
The project builds on continued research into future materials, from the REALITY project, a pioneering recycling process which gives premium automotive-grade aluminium a second life, to the development of printed structural electronics, which can reduce the weight of in-car electronics by up to 60%.