THE STORY OF ALUMINIUM
The benefits of light, stiff, recycable aluminium are central to the design of the all new XJ and to Jaguar’s commitment to environmental responsibility
ALUMINIUM’S LIFE CYCLE
“We didn’t decide to use aluminium because it was new or something different,” explains Mark White, Jaguar’s chief technical specialist for body engineering. “It’s because aluminium delivers significant benefits for the drivers and passengers of the new XJ. An owner may not care whether the body is made of aluminium or steel. But what the Jaguar owner does care very much about is the way the car performs and handles – the way it rides. And that’s where aluminium delivers.”
The XJ’s aluminium body is also at the core of Jaguar’s focus on environmental responsibility. It’s an enlightened approach covering every stage of the XJ’s life cycle – from its design, through to assembly and the moment it takes to the road, right to the time it ends its life.
ALMOST 100% OF THE XJ’S ALUMINIUM IS RECYCABLE
Bauxite ore is extracted from a mine and transported to a refining plant. The ore is processed to create aluminium, alloyed and poured directly into moulds, where it cools to form ingots (left and right). The ingots are formed into aluminium products. When the life cycle of an aluminium product ends, aluminium can be recycled.
3.3 TONNES OF CO2 ARE SAVED USING RECYCLED ALUMINIUM
But that’s not the only important benefit. The new aluminium ingots are melted and cast into parts such as car wheel rims or rolled into sheets. The sheet aluminium is cut and pressed into the shape of body panels and chassis sections. The construction of the all new XJ’s aerospace-inspired body uses around 12,000 aluminium drink cans-worth of reclaimed, recycled aluminium. “That’s 50 per cent of the weight of the new XJ’s body structure, and a potential saving of 3.3 tonnes of CO2 for each XJ compared to a car using 100 per cent non-recycled aluminium,” says Martin Brown, manager of sustainability attributes at Jaguar. There’s no difference in quality between new and recycled aluminium.
3100 SELF-PIERCING RIVETS ARE USED
The new XJ’s body structure is a masterpiece of advanced, intelligent technology. A ‘team’ of 100 robots applies just over 3100 self-piercing rivets, and more than 100 metres of aerospace industry-sourced epoxy adhesive to bond the aluminium pressings, castings and extrusions together to create the very stiff and durable structure. Painstaking research and analysis, along with thousands of hours of computing time, have enabled Jaguar’s engineers to improve the construction process, optimising the use of different grades and gauges of aluminium.
150 KILOGRAMS LIGHTER
The result of this advanced design and construction is a body that is stiffer than most steel equivalents. The body provides the perfect platform for the all new XJ’s suspension to deliver benchmark ride comfort and responsive handling. It’s also lighter, weighing around 150kg less than the average steel-based body in its class. On the road, this aerospace-inspired aluminium construction sets the all new XJ apart. In the way it performs, the way it rides and the way it handles.
50 PER CENT RECYCLED ALUMINIUM
So the light-weight aluminium body offers the benefit of improved fuel economy and lower emissions compared to previous XJ models. And not just for the car – the use of recycled aluminium for up to 50 per cent of the XJ’s body structure gives major reductions in energy use. As Martin Brown, manager of sustainability attributes at Jaguar explains: “If it takes 100 per cent of energy to create new sheet aluminium, only five per cent is required to recycle used aluminium into sheet metal again.”
66% LIGHTER THAN STEEL
Part of the all new XJ’s safety package also begins with its light, yet supremely stiff, aerospace-inspired aluminium chassis. “The reduced weight that comes from using aluminium, together with the strength you get from bonding and riveting, is key,” explains Mark White, Jaguar’s chief technical specialist for body engineering. Raw aluminium weighs about 66 per cent less than plain mild steel. “Being considerably lighter than an equivalent steel body, the XJ’s structure carries a lot less kinetic energy into a collision, reducing the amount of energy that has to be absorbed.
85%. THE AMOUNT OF THE XJ THAT CAN BE RECYCLED
”When the time eventually comes for an XJ’s life cycle to end, Jaguar engineers have designed the car to be 85 per cent recyclable – including almost 100 per cent of its aluminium. It’s all part of Jaguar’s uncompromised focus on making cars that are truly exhilarating to drive.
JAGUAR HAS A PROUD HISTORY OF COMBINING BEAUTY WITH PERFORMANCE AND A LIGHT-WEIGHT ARCHITECTURE.
Aluminium has been key to achieving that combination since Sir William Lyons, Jaguar’s founder, launched the Swallow Sidecar Company in 1922, making aluminium-panelled sidecars.
Then, Sir William’s Swallow Coachbuilding Company redesigned and rebodied cars using aluminium panels – cars such as the Austin Seven were transformed into streamlined, light-weight machines. In 1929 aluminium panels improved the handling and looks of the Austin-Swallow over the standard Austin models.
When Sir William launched the Jaguar marque, it was not long before a Jaguar used the benefits of the metal – the 1948 Jaguar XK120 used aluminium panels, and the C-type and D-type both had aluminium bodies, helping them to Le Mans 24 Hours race victories.
The Lightweight E-type of 1963 made extensive use of aluminium alloy in the body panels and other components, as did both the XJ13 racing prototype and the XJ220, the fastest super car of its day.
After showing the aluminium F-Type and R-Coupé (both 2001), and the R-D6 (2003) concept cars, the groundbreaking, previous-generation XJ model was launched with an aluminium bonded and riveted chassis, relaunching Jaguar’s advanced construction techniques. It was the first volume-production car to use an all-aluminium monocoque chassis.
The all-aluminium XK followed in 2006, and now the all new XJ moves this technology even further, with the introduction of a ‘second-generation’ aluminium body structure.