• Jul 31st 2009 at 8:07AM
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2010 Jaguar XJ – Click above for high-res image gallery

Jaguar has been touting the aluminum-intensive construction of its XJ sedan since the previous-generation model was introduced back in 2003. According to the automaker, the use of aluminum in lieu of steel can lead to an impressive 40 percent reduction in weight. That's bound to have positive effects on driving dynamics, performance and efficiency.

With its latest redesign, Jaguar claims to have improved its aluminum architecture even further, so it's not surprising that the company has plans to extend the technology to the rest of its line. According to Ratan Tata, chairman of the company that now owns Jaguar Land Rover, "JLR is planning to have all its future cars constructed with light weight aluminum bodies resulting in considerable savings in weight, and reduction in CO2 emissions."

To go along with the newfound reduction in weight, Jaguar Land Rover is known to be experimenting with hybrid powertrains. A kinetic energy recovery system may be in the cards for the XJ line in 2011 while Land Rover has been working on an Electric Rear Axle Drive that could debut in the upcoming LRX compact Range Rover.

[Source: Motor E Magazine]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Damn! I just got my M1 Abrams to run on biodiesel, what do I do now?

      Seriously, SUVs roll over more. Also they handle worse, and 4WD does not stop you any quicker. Also, I see more people in SUVs and minivans chatting on cellphones, because you are definitely more detached from driving, and it makes it harder to focus on the road.

      For some reasons most folks just aren't aware that they are in a relatively narrow pathway filled with 2 tons blocks of metal moving at 60-70mph...Now, you know who I never see talking on cellphones? Bikers.

      I say we all just ride motorcycles.
      • 6 Years Ago
      When will people learn?

      Automotive aluminum is virgin metal. Strides are being made in attempting to use recycled, but issues remain. Aluminum production (never mind the rain forest issue) is so energy intensive that purported system savings in energy can never be realized, as it takes so much energy just to make the stuff. As the metal is subject to fatigue issues and NVH issues require use of more metal, the rule of thumb is that it takes 4X the volume of aluminum to equal steel is any load bearing use. In short, "Aluminum takes 4x the metal, but don't worry, it only costs 4X as much".

      There are some weight savings in aluminum use in non-load bearing parts, like hoods and doors, or in complex, non-loaded castings, like engine heads. Otherwise, it is heavy, costly and energy inefficient.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Sure its lighter, but what does that mean in terms of safety? More or less?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Weight ≠ safety
        Agility, crumple zones/ energy absorption, roll cage, air bags, safety harnesses, and lights = safety

        Don't buy into the "trucks and SUV's are safer because they're bigger and heavier" argument, because the ultimate conclusion to that is we should all drive tanks. Problem is, if we all drive tanks we're back to where we were (your car is no longer heavier because everyone's car is equally heavy). I've seen an F1 driver hit a wall at about 45 degrees at well over 100 mph and live to race again. If that is possible in a car that has open wheels and weighs under 1,400 lbs, it's definitely possible to be safe in a passenger car with double the weight and ten times the safety features driving the speed limit.
        • 6 Years Ago
        aluminum has a better strength to weight ratio than steel, so the same structural strength can be had for less weight.

        Plus the sheer size of a land rover, combined with the ridiculous number of airbags put into luxury vehicles (aside from the sports cars, but no one buys a sports car for safety) means that they will be pretty damn safe.

        Also, a land rover is really, really big. The weight you'd save by switching the majority of that from steel to aluminum would be huge. A land rover is by no means a "green" vehicle, but the improvement from aluminum would be much greater than say, switching a honda civic from steel to aluminum.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Safety shouldn't be no problem, it isn't the mass that makes the car safe, it is how the car deforms in case of an accident.

        What should be of interrest to people reading this page is the energy cost producing the aluminium compared to steel.
        Typical for aluminium is high energy demand for refining the Bauxite to 'pure' aluminium, something like 20 times the energy required to recycle used already 'pure' Al.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Comes with a free greenwash too, huh?

      Environmentally speaking, the use of large amounts of aluminium is probably a net loss. Aluminium is mined from beneath rain forests, and is a prime cause of deforestation in parts of south america. Even if they source it from recyclers, it still takes a huge amount of electricity to refine aluminium so the savings from the reduced weight will be offset by the losses from the energy it took to refine that much metal.
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