If you are just starting out on a career in engineering then I’m jealous. More than thirty years on since the first day of my apprenticeship, I’m still in love with our profession and I would do it all again. Every single day. Why? Because engineering is cool. Engineers are cool.
What do we do? We take on problems and we solve them. We make things happen. We change the world. And the pace of that change is getting quicker and quicker which for me makes it all the more exciting.
When I started I wanted to be an electrical engineer, but because I am colour blind I went into body engineering instead. A set back? Not really. I’ve never regretted it. And I am glad I have spent 31 years with the same company and seen it evolve and grow.
Now I have the honour of leading a team of thousands of the best engineers in the world at Jaguar Land Rover. Together we are driving the technical delivery of our stunning products. Every day is different as together we face new challenges, think them through and defeat them. We are the Barack Obamas of industry, the people who say every day, ‘Yes, we can.’
Let me give you a couple of examples. We know our customers want the same high standards they always have but they are also now more concerned about the environment and cutting down carbon emissions. We produced the new Jaguar XF – with an aluminium base. Our XF is a staggering 70kg lighter than our competitors.
Coupled with our state-of-the-art 4 cylinder and 6 cylinder powertrains the XF certainly delivers on efficiency our engineering forefathers couldn’t have dreamt of – as low as 104g of CO2 per km. And with its supercharged V6 it delivers zero to sixty in 5.1 seconds.
Engineering innovation making faster, cleaner vehicles.
This car isn’t just fast, it’s clever. It has the capability to learn your habits and respond to them. It will actually start to predict where you are going before you go there. You could think of it as your own virtual butler.
The mechanical engineering we brought to F-Type actually started with our re-engineering of the Range Rover. Taking the weight out was the key starting point. Again using aluminium meant we took out a staggering 420kg of weight. That allowed us to use the V6, and so it consumes about three-quarters of the fuel of the previous TDV8 model. That is a quantum leap forward.
And then we took a blank sheet of paper to engineer the vehicle to be an uncompromised hybrid. The batteries aren’t stuck in the boot – wasting space and practicality – the batteries are underneath the floor. And that is also perfect for centre of gravity and dynamics as well.
But every leap forward demands another. Neither we nor our competitors can afford to stand still so every innovation demands that the next is even more stunning. These are the demands and challenges of modern engineering and the team and I relish them all.
I believe we will see more new technologies and innovations in the next few years than we saw in my last 3 decades. And that is why I am jealous of you starting out.
By Nick Rogers, Group Engineering Director at Jaguar Land Rover Limited