The Jaguar Land Rover Project TUCANA focused on lightweighting with composites for mass production vehicles and made with Zoltek carbon fiber has won the Composites UK Innovation in Composite Design Award! Utilizing the technologies of several partner companies, a body structure was created that was low-cost, had enhanced mechanical properties, and allowed for design freedom.
TUCANA – An APC funded project focused on lightweighting with composites for mass production vehicles
The APC funded project TUCANA is an enabler for future generations of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV), demonstrated through the redesign of the rear structure of a Jaguar I-Pace, the acclaimed Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) BEV.
Unlike traditional fabric-based components using RTM or autoclave technology, which are not viable for a high volume (40,000+ unit per annum) cycle time nor a business case point of view, TUCANA focused on optimising the use and location of material.
Combining UD and SMC reduced the part count by 63% but was a manufacturing challenge especially in term of UD retention, adhesion or warpage management. The compliance of the TUCANA structure with the traditional paint process and temperatures up to 200°C was the critical challenge of the project.
To create a more cost-effective end product, carbon fiber manufacturer Zoltek utilized their lower cost 50K split-tow carbon fiber that can be spread during the SMC compounding process, to provide performance properties of regular tow.
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