The new Nissan Qashqai will be the company’s first model built in Europe using a significant number of lightweight aluminium panels.
Nissan said the bonnet, doors and front fenders are stamped from aluminium alloy, which makes the body of the Qashqai 60 kilograms lighter, improving efficiency and contributing to reduced emissions. It also helps accommodate more technology, including the vehicle’s electrified powertrain.
Nissan said aluminium production at its Sunderland plant in the UK includes its second extra-large press line launched last year, and the cyclone – a recycling facility that “blasts out scrap metal” at 150 km/h and can handle more than seven tons of metal an hour, ensuring less waste and a greener production process.
As bonnets and doors are stamped into shape, scrap material is shredded and extracted, keeping aluminium grades separate and ensuring Nissan can return high-quality scrap to suppliers for them to turn into more aluminium alloy sheets.
According to Nissan, the “closed-loop” recycling system reduces waste and CO2 emissions, contributing to the company’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality across its operations, and the life cycle of its products, by 2050.
Nissan said recycling scrap aluminium saves more than 90 per cent of the energy needed to create a comparable amount from raw materials.
“We continue to look for ways to make both our vehicles and our manufacturing process more sustainable. The use of lightweight aluminium in the new Qashqai is a great example,” said Alan Johnson, Vice President Manufacturing at Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK.
The Qashqai follows the new Rogue sold in North America as the second global model for Nissan to feature aluminium parts produced with the closed-loop recycling process. Nissan is considering expanding the application of this process to future models and other factories.
“We continue to improve the efficiency and sustainability of our manufacturing operations and Sunderland will play a key role in meeting the company’s commitment to carbon neutrality,” said Johnson.