Jaguar Land Rover has been a leading light in terms of innovation and reliability – two ideas that aren’t always compatible but that JLR has managed to bring together time and again – and its newest venture just proves this very important point. Jaguar Land Rover has put together a consortium of industry partners and impressive academic minds in order to put time, effort, and money into the research and development of lightweight composite materials that will go on to be used to manufacture JLR’s hugely popular cars.

The four-year project known as ‘Tucana’ isn’t just about helping Jaguar Land Rover gain more press and a bigger audience; what it’s really about is finding a way to ensure the UK becomes a “world leader in low-carbon technology, helping prevent 4.5 million tons of CO2 emissions between 2023 and 2032”. A noble cause indeed, and one that we can certainly get behind; emissions are something that we are working hard to reduce, and although we as a nation still have a long way to go, Jaguar Land Rover’s efforts are sure to make a big difference.

JLR is also hoping that this project will encourage more people to take on the ownership of electric vehicles since there will be more available in a wider range once a newer, more lightweight material has been found to make the cars with. The more lightweight the car, the more speed and power a battery can offer, turning what might have been a no-no for some car enthusiasts into a go-go-go.

The idea behind the research and development within Tucana is to find a way to develop lightweight powertrain structures and vehicle materials that will replace the more traditional materials used, most usually aluminium and steel. By using composite materials, exactly the right levels of strength, cost, and sustainability can be determined, ensuring that the cars produced using these materials are going to appeal to a wide range of people and be cost-effective too.

The composite materials will need to be thoroughly tested so that they can definitely deal with the torque that an electric motor is going to need, especially since that torque is on-demand. This is the main difficulty in developing a new kind of material. It’s easy to determine how aluminium and steep are going to work when used to create an electric car, but a new material created by JLR and its partners? That’s where the hard work starts. However, signs are good that, thanks to the vast experience that Jaguar Land Rover has in developing excellent vehicles, there will be progress made.

In fact, JLR has listed out its objectives for the project, and they include increasing vehicle stiffness by 30 percent and reducing the vehicle’s body weight by 35kg, whilst at the same time improving safety all round. It is thought that these objectives can be met using these composite materials, including carbon fibre. The plan is that there will be a fleet of prototypes by 2022, and the real testing can begin.

Jaguar Land Rover is partnering with the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), Expert Tooling and Automation, Today International UK, CCP Gransden, and The Centre for Modelling & Simulation (CFMS) among others for this important project.

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