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New Nissan Qashqai to use lightweight aluminium panels

The all-new Qashqai will be Nissan’s first model built in Europe using a significant number of lightweight aluminium panels.

The bonnet, doors and front wings are stamped from aluminium alloy, which Nissan says makes the Qashqai body 60kg lighter than the previous version. This improves efficiency on emissions and helps accommodate more technology, including Qashqai’s electrified powertrain.

A £52m investment in aluminium production at Nissan’s Sunderland plant includes the second extra-large press line that was launched last year and the cyclone – a recycling facility that is said to blast scrap metal out at 150km an hour 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.

The separation ensures that Nissan can return high-quality scrap to suppliers. The suppliers turn the separated aluminium scrap into aluminium alloy sheets and redeliver them to Nissan for use in production.

This “closed-loop” recycling system reclaims scrap aluminium, reducing waste and CO2 emissions. This contributes to the goal Nissan has set itself of achieving carbon neutrality across the company’s operations and the life cycle of its products by 2050.

Recycling scrap aluminium saves more than 90 per cent of the energy needed to create a comparable amount from raw materials, according to the car maker.