Less weight, more stiffness.
Whatever you may think of Jaguar Land Rover products, the last thing that is likely to creep into your mind is the word "light". Cars like the Jaguar I-Pace and Range Rover Velar are ridiculously heavy, even when there's a lot of aluminum at play. However, JLR isn't content to let well enough be.
A few months ago, the company announced a new project that would place a greater focus on lightness through experimenting with aerospace-grade materials, but it doesn't stop there. This week, JLR announced a new composites project that ultimately aims to prevent 4.5 million tonnes of CO2 emissions in the decade-long period from 2023 to 2032.
The Tucana project is a four-year-long program to make the United Kingdom a world leader in "low-carbon technology" by "accelerating mainstream use of electric vehicles and making vehicles lighter." The knock-on effect of this project's success would be fewer emissions from traditionally-powered vehicles and less energy consumption by electrified ones.
JLR's part in this is to increase vehicle stiffness by 30 percent while simultaneously cutting weight by 35 kilograms (approximately 77 pounds). By reducing the weight of a vehicle, larger batteries will make for greater range. While some manufacturers have worked on other ways of increasing efficiency, the easiest way to do so right now with available battery tech is more charge.
Of course, the most readily available and best understood advanced composite at the moment is carbon fiber, and JLR will certainly be broadening its expertise in this field, but glass fiber will also be a part of the plan. Ultimately, almost anything that can viably increase stiffness while reducing weight will be beneficial. After all, electric vehicles are among the heaviest in the world. Your Jaguar I-Pace weighs almost 4,800 pounds, while a similarly sized yet traditionally powered vehicle like the BMW X3 weighs at least 400 pounds less. The end goal will mean fewer emissions from the manufacturer, and if the UK sticks to its goals, eventually a zero-emissions society.