Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is trialling materials produced by BASF’s ChemCycling pilot project. The project upcycles domestic plastic waste into new, high-quality polymers.
The BASF process involves transforming hard-to-recycle waste plastic to pyrolysis oil using a thermochemical process.
This secondary raw material is then fed into BASF’s production chain as a replacement for fossil resources to produce a new ‘premium grade’ product which replicates the quality and performance of virgin plastics.
The new grade can be tempered and coloured, making it suitable for instrument panels and other exterior vehicle surfaces.
JLR and BASF are currently testing the pilot phase material in a Jaguar I-PACE prototype front-end carrier overmoulding to verify if it meets the same safety requirements of the existing OE part.
Pending the outcome of the trials, JLR expects to use domestically-derived recycled plastic content throughout its cars without any compromise in quality or safety performance.
“Plastics are vital to car manufacturing and have proven benefits during their use phase, however, plastic waste remains a major global challenge. Solving this issue requires innovation and joined-up thinking between regulators, manufacturers and suppliers,” said Chris Brown, senior sustainability manager at Jaguar Land Rover.
According to Brown, JLR is “proactively increasing” recycled content in its products, removing single-use plastics across its operations and reducing excess waste across the product lifecycle.
As part of its commitment to addressing the challenge of waste plastic, JLR is also collaborating with textile supplier Kvadrat to offer customers alternative seat options that combine a wool blends with a technical suede cloth. The cloth represents 53 recycled plastic bottles per vehicle.
Plastics, and particularly recycled plastics, are expected to make up a greater proportion of parts across new vehicles in coming years as carmakers look to reduce overall vehicle weight.
This is of particular interest to JLR as the carmaker looks to introduce a broad range of electric and hybrid vehicles. JLR already offers the i-PACE EV and is planning to launch an all-electric XJ saloon in 2020.