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New birthplace for Jaguar Land Rover’s electric ‘babies’

Our Bureau | Updated on October 10, 2019

JLR’s ‘Destination Zero’, the new product creation centre, brings design, engineering and production purchasing under one roof

A VR rig enables designers and studio engineers to test ideas in the virtual world

The new Jaguar Design Studio will place greater importance on advanced material technologies

UK luxury car brand gets a new hub for its ‘Destination Zero’ mission, setting out a roadmap for zero emissions, zero accidents and zero congestion

At a time when the global automotive industry is facing considerable headwinds with sales slowing or sliding down in most of the major car markets of the world, it takes a lot of foresight and some daring to pump in fresh funds into creating a new design and engineering centre. That’s what Jaguar Land Rover has done at Gaydon in the UK, where its future cars will be conceived. Jaguar’s next generation XJ and Defender which will be launched next year may not benefit from the swanky new facilities. But, many of the next range of cars will be electrics or hybrids and will be designed, prototyped and developed at the vast new site.

Destination Zero

The Gaydon site forms part of Jaguar Land Rover’s Destination Zero mission; JLR claims it to be an ambition to make societies safer and healthier, and the environment cleaner. The company’s focus is on achieving a future of zero emissions, zero accidents and zero congestion – across its facilities, and through its products and services. The site is home to almost 13,000 highly-skilled engineers and designers who are developing the current and next generation Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles.

We in India will also witness the launch of future electrics coming from JLR, including the I-PACE electric crossover and a range of new hybrids from Land Rover. Globally, JLR wants to offer electric options for every model by next year. Speaking at the official inauguration event late last month, Ralf Speth, CEO of JLR, said, “Megatrends like urbanisation and sustainability are fundamentally changing the automotive industry. At JLR, we not only participate, but want to shape future mobility. Our vision is for a world in which zero emission vehicles, public transport and self-driving pods will form one smart integrated and networked transport system.”

Coming together

To meet the new ‘Destination Zero’ targets, the product creation centre brings design, engineering and production purchasing under one roof for the first time in JLR’s history. The site is 4 million m² big, equivalent to almost 480 football pitches. It delivers more than 50,000 m² of additional workspace which has been designed to encourage collaboration throughout the entire vehicle development process – from sketch to showroom. It includes the new Jaguar design studio, co-locating Jaguar and Land Rover design for the first time. JLR says that the new offices are rated in the top 10 per cent of most sustainable non-domestic buildings in the UK. Up to 20 per cent of its energy will come from almost 3 000m² of photovoltaic solar panels on the roof, and the remainder from 100 per cent renewable sources.

Jaguar Design is made up of designers from across the globe and from a range of industry backgrounds, including fashion, watch-making, sports and gaming. The design processes utilise industry-leading technology, including custom-made clay modelling machines allowing 20 models to be worked on at once, virtual reality (VR) systems and an 11-m K digital display wall known as ‘The Electric’. The floor area of the new Jaguar Design Studio measures over 12,000m2 – an increase of around 33 per cent compared to previous spaces in Whitley.

The main studios are named Studio 3 and Studio 4, taking inspiration from the numbers of the Le Mans-winning Jaguar D-types of 1957 and 1956 respectively, as well as paying homage to studios 1 and 2 at Whitley, which was the home of Jaguar Design from 1985. The naming approach is continued in the meeting rooms, with half named after iconic Jaguar models and the other half taking their names from important people in Jaguar history, including founder Sir William Lyons, designer Geoff Lawson and the actor Steve McQueen.

Studios 3 and 4 house a total of 10 clay modelling plates, each measuring 20-m long and capable of accommodating two clays, with a load capacity of 4.5-tonnes. For the first time, designers can now place interior and exterior models next to one another to improve synergy and collaboration between the two disciplines. Each plate is fitted with floor-integrated machine rails to allow double-sided processing of models by the 3+2-axis Kolb Concept Line CNC clay milling machines. The advanced system can switch between measuring and milling. The plates also feature floor-integrated lifts for the clay models. These are capable of providing continuous height adjustment, to enable the most ergonomic working positions for Jaguar modellers.

The studios are fully temperature controlled to ensure clay remains in the ideal state to be worked on by the 46-strong team of sculptors, while lighting is provided at exactly the right brightness and colour temperature. Models can easily be taken outside to be viewed in natural light and from a range of distances and angles. In total, the new Jaguar Design Studio has 906m2 of glazing, including three full-length skylights which flood the studio with natural light.

Future tech

VR plays an increasingly important role in Jaguar Design with digitalisation teams appearing at every stage of the process from sketching through to launch animations. A VR rig enables designers and studio engineers to test ideas in the virtual world much faster and more efficiently than before. From the early conceptual stage, the Computer-Aided Surfacing team convert the design sketches into digital 3D models while the in-house Design Visualisation and Animation team works closely with designers and data teams to render and animate the sketches and 3D models.

The new Jaguar Design Studio will place greater importance on advanced material technologies, too. Focussed on sustainability, JLR says that the colour and materials team have more space and technology to investigate and test new resources that continue to demonstrate luxury and tactility for the next generation of vehicles.

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Published on October 10, 2019
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