In 2008 Jaguar Land Rover started an initiative named REALCar, this stands for Recycled Aluminium Car. The concept was simple, to produce cars that people want but also that tackle the CO2 and fuel economy challenges facing the automotive industry. The concept may have been simple but the methodology was an entirely different story.
The initial aim was to reduce the CO2 output in the metal manufacturing process. This would happen through the use of more secondary metal. This was far easier said than done. The truth is, Jaguar Land Rover needed assistance from metallurgists, chemists, recyclers and rolling mills. The team also brought in Brunel University to seek an academic perspective. Brunel University were chosen for their expertise in evaluating next generation processing techniques. At the very core of the REALCar project is materials innovation.
Alloy RC 5754
Jaguar Land Rover managed to develop a revised alloy to be used in their cars. This was titled RC 5754. The automotive manufacturer worked with Novelis, an industrial aluminium company, to develop the recycle friendly alloy. The idea of this was to put more recycled content into a material that can be mass produced by Jaguar Land Rover. This involved a vast amount of technical work – the material needed to be able to do everything Novellis needed of it as well as everything Jaguar Land Rover required.
Closing the Loop
The second part of the REALCar project surrounded the efficiency of the recycling process. Everyone working on the initiative knew that recycled metal would require an efficient process of returning the product back into manufacturing (otherwise known as ‘closing the loop’). Initially, all eyes fell on end of life scrap metal. It was later settled that the simplest way of obtaining scrap metal was via the production process itself. The project saw a large amount of investment put into the recovery of scrap metal from press shops. This investment allowed for the controlled, automated collection of aluminium.
A Sustainable Automotive Industry?
What’s noticeable from the REALCar initiative is that every company within the chain openly embraced the changes to the manufacture process. Adrian Tautscher (Group Leader – Sustainable Aluminium Strategies at Jaguar Land Rover) explains the huge opportunity facing the industry; “it’s critical for the future that Innovate UK continues to support in the way they have done, to really maximise the benefit, not just for the UK economy but for the global economy”.
REALCar was always intended to be a long term, strategic project. The future that was initially aspired to in 2008 is now here. The revised alloys are now being used in the Jaguar XE, XF and F-Pace cars. The Jaguar Performance E version of the XE has pushed its way into the industry leading group with only 99g per km, the lowest CO2 emissions of any Jaguar car. The brand’s sent a battle cry to the industry by using recycled metal in this car. This is proof that manufacturers can make exciting, sustainable and environmentally friendly cars that customers will actually buy.
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