Jaguar Land Rover is buzzing this week with news that every single model introduced after 2020 will be electrified.
Excited to showcase its “commitment to the future,” JLR even provided a converted E-Type for its mobility-themed Tech Fest. Dubbed the E-Type Zero, the car is a 1968 Series 1.5 Roadster with its traditional powertrain swapped in favor of a 220 kW electric motor. While the old EV switcharoo provides instantaneous torque, an increase in horsepower, and ought to make fans of the cars in Gattaca very happy, Jag purists will probably hate it.
However, the company’s decision isn’t about a high-profile one-off. This is a sea change for JLR, echoing Volvo’s recent decision to march headlong into electrification.
“Every new Jaguar Land Rover model line will be electrified from 2020, giving our customers even more choice,” stated Jaguar Land Rover CEO Ralf Speth. “We will introduce a portfolio of electrified products across our model range, embracing fully electric, plug-in hybrid and mild hybrid vehicles. Our first fully electric performance SUV, the Jaguar I-Pace, goes on sale next year.”
JLR is also expected to unveil plug-in hybrid versions of both the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport SUVs in the very near future. After 2020, that trend will extend out to every new and updated model.
According to the manufacturer, Jaguar has already seen 25,000 orders placed for the 2018 I-Pace.
“The feedback on the I-Pace Concept has been fantastic,” explained Jag design head Ian Callum. “With the I-Pace Concept we’ve torn up the rule book to create a vehicle with supercar inspired aesthetics, sports car performance and SUV space, in one electric package. It has surprised people and the enthusiasm for our first electric vehicle has been beyond all my expectations.”
The I-Pace is intended to be a versatile EV designed to compete with Tesla’s premium offerings. Range is expected to be a competitive 310 miles (NEDC cycle) and Jaguar promises acceleration from 0 to 60 mph in around 4 seconds. An 80-percent charge should be achievable within 90 minutes using a 50 kW fast-charger, according to the manufacturer.
This all sounds good, but pure electrics won’t comprise the sales base of JLR vehicles for quite some time. The crop of pending hybrids will be what makes or breaks the company in the years to come and we don’t have much to go on yet.
We know that Land Rover has a 3.0-liter SDV6 diesel engine with a 35kW electric motor and a 2.0-liter Ingenium engine with an Electric Drive Module waiting in the wings. The latter is likely to make it to North America, perhaps as early as 2018, and eventually begin appearing on multiple platforms as a PHEV. However, on-road testing continues without any official specifications.
While some might condemn the brands for abandoning its roots, JLR is really just responding to the changing times. Europe is coming down hard on internal combustion engines, especially diesels, and threats of banning the fuel have already come to fruition in some areas. Earlier this week, the Scottish government said it would phase out gasoline and diesel cars by 2032 — eight years before U.K. and French targets.
However, Tech Fest is more than just a response to changing trends. It’s also an opportunity for JLR to show off its autonomous technologies, high-end driving assistance systems, and prove it is a corporation that cares. Sayer, the company’s “digital butler” that lives inside a steering wheel, will be on hand as part of its future vehicle showcase. There will also be booths highlighting industry opportunities for women, JLR’s corporate citizenship programs, and the aforementioned E-Type Zero.
The mobility event takes place at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, and is open to the public from September 8th through the 10th.
[Images: Jaguar Land Rover]