The Ultra Lightweight TRANsmission & driveline (ULTRAN) project, is a £5 million study co-funded by Innovate UK and led by Jaguar Land Rover. It has developed cost-effective lightweight drivetrain technologies for powertrain weight reduction, vehicle performance and improvements in CO2 emissions. WMG’s expertise in polymer composite performance, joining techniques, material and final component characterisation were key to the development of an innovative rear drive unit. The novel structural optimisation and design process led to a 25% (8.5kg) weight saving as well as CO2 reduction compared with the existing design. Other benefits realised throughout this project include: development of a cost-effective, high-strength gear steel material, with a 7% improvement in fatigue performance; enhanced understanding of gear failures, combining lubrication, materials and processing factors; selection and characterisation of a suitable lightweight material for the replacement of metallic structures for transmission and driveline units.