Jaguar Land Rover warm air blanket conceptEnlarge Photo
In addition to the new electrified concept cars, Jaguar Land Rover is showing some efficiency-boosting technologies that might be coming sooner to its cars. These include more efficient heating and ventilation systems and new solutions to reduce vehicle weight.
According to Epple, climate control systems can reduce battery range of electric cars by as much as 40 percent while for internal combustion cars he says they can reduce range by as much as 20 percent. Clearly, with more efficient climate control systems, driving range could be stretched substantially.
Some of the solutions include heating the air and then just recirculating it, with special filters being employed to remove CO2, moisture and particulates. Another option could be installing small, infra-red panels around the passenger areas. Because the panels heat up quickly and efficiently, and because the sensation of feeling warm is almost immediate, energy consumption could be dramatically reduced.
Another method to improve efficiency is by reducing weight. Jaguar Land Rover already builds vehicles using lightweight aluminum, but components made from special polymers could reduce weight even further. These polymers are formed by a process called thermoplastic composite stamping, and with the technology Jaguar Land Rover engineers have succeeded in developing a new type of seat structure that weighs 30 percent less than an equivalent steel-based seat structure.
The engineers are also looking at a carbon fiber-like material that relies on natural, sustainable materials such as flax and a cashew nut oil resin. Called Carbio, the new material brings the strength and lightweight benefit of carbon fiber together with the sustainability and lower cost of flax. While the manufacturing cost is similar to that of traditional carbon fiber, the material cost of mixing carbon fiber and flax is said to be one-third cheaper. Components made from Carbio are 28 percent lighter than aluminium and 55 percent lighter than steel.
Finally, the engineers are also investigating whether a vehicle’s copper-based wiring loom and electrical components could be replaced with tiny, wafer-thin printed electronic circuits. The technology could be deployed as a lightweight and space-saving alternative to traditional wiring for features including instruments, switches, sensing, lighting, heating and displays.
No word on when we might see any of these technologies in production.