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Published on April 13th, 2016 | by Steve Hanley


Jaguar Design Leader: Electric Cars Are The Future, “Electrification Will Kickstart The Biggest Change In Automotive Design In History”

April 13th, 2016 by  

Originally published on Gas2.

Ian Callum, head of design for Jaguar, says electric powertrains will “reinvent the car.” He tells Autocar, “My personal view is that electric cars are a new start. Car design will change more in the next 15 years than it has in the past 100 — electrification will kickstart the biggest change in automotive design in history.”

Jaguar C-X75

“The opportunities an electric powertrain offers are huge, especially in terms of the space for occupants. By removing so much of the mechanical hardware and placing the batteries in the floorplan you open up all sorts of possibilities with packaging. The question is whether you make the cars smaller, but with the same interior space, or keep the cars the same size and offer more space — or perhaps both.”

Callum insisted the opportunities presented by electrification far outweigh the drawbacks, saying: “It offers designers and stylists a much greater freedom. It is an opportunity we must embrace, because we have choice as an industry to either be considered part of the problem of global warming or to be part of the solution.”

“I’m clear in my mind that an electric Jaguar would be suitable for the brand. You have to move with the times and design for the opportunities. Look at the C-X75 concept — that was a car that was designed for an alternative powertrain, and nobody had any complaints about how that looked. It just so happened we later fitted a conventional powertrain in the car — but it was designed entirely around an electrified hybrid powertrain.” Jaguar is expected to blend the appeal of the C-X75 sports car with a package that seats four in comfort.

Industry sources believe Jaguar is working on an electric SUV to rival the Audi Q6 e-tron quattro. Both cars are expected to go on sale in 2018 and cost about $80,000. The similarly priced Tesla Model X starts at about the same price but is already on the market. The Tesla can also accommodate up to 7 passengers.

In preparation for its electric road car debut, Jaguar is entering next season’s Formula E electric car racing championship, with testing scheduled to begin in August. It has also patented the EV-Type name, although insiders say this is to protect the name, rather than a definite indication it will be used.

Jaguar F-Pace

SUVs are the hottest market segment at the moment, so it makes sense for Jaguar to target those customers. At present, there are no photos or design sketches that reveal what an electric Jaguar SUV might look like, although there are some who think the F-Pace crossover may offer clues to the size and styling of the electric Jag.

Photos by Thesupermat (some rights reserved) and Jaguar

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About the Author

writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Rhode Island. You can follow him on Google + and on Twitter. "There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest." Elie Wiesel

  • lwebb82

    EVs are great (once Li-Ion tech overcomes the next hurdle — higher efficiency), but…no one has yet gone to ‘hub motors’ — motors IN THE WHEELS, with PWM (Pulse Width Modulation — pulsed electronic bridge drivers). This gets rid of transmission losses and allows the full battery voltage to be applied to the wheel motor(s), just at varying pulse widths — pulse widths down to ZERO. The motor inductance ‘smooths’ the applied drive and control is infinite. An idea who’s time has come.

  • eveee

    Maybe he can give a seminar to Toyota execs.

  • Kraylin

    It’s great to hear some of the legacy manufacturer’s acknowledge that electric cars are the future but one step better would be if they backed those words with actual designs and plans to manufacture electric vehicles…instead we get concepts and vapourware. Worse this article states Jaguar built a car designed for an electric powertrain and put a gas engine in it… UGH!

    • jeffhre

      Sounds about right.

      You’re a car exec with xyz car company. And you step up to the plate big time, make a huge risk, and build and EV platform. Wouldn’t you then monetize it in the fastest way possible, using the skill set you have known for decades makes the company money (while some usurpers plan to take over the market by using the platform for what is was designed for). And ignore the high risk unproven words in parenthesis that make your job harder, and riskier?

      You’re the man. Make your money now and don’t worry about a long term, eke out a tiny market, on billions of dollars of risked money, science projects, that will pay off – after you’re retired.

      That’s why some nobodies (Bob Lutz words) from Silicon Valley just snatched up 325,000 orders in a week.

      • Frank

        Might want to check the DNA of that nobody, and why it’s thriving.

  • Ross

    It sounded good until he said they needed “an electric Jaguar”. I’d like if these old car companies separated into old and new and let the new part just all out go for it without worrying about any impact on their old business.

    • jeffhre

      Ha Ha right! Provide my killer not just with a knife. But with the money to build factories for millions of them, and an ad budget to get all of his friends to join him in evangelizing his mission?

    • nakedChimp

      Who is buying a non-electric Jaguar when the electric version beats it on all accounts in 4-5 years from now (high power endurance and range are currently still black spots for BEVs IMHO)?
      They don’t need to separate, they either convert to 100% electric or the Jaguar brand will be gone in 5 years.

    • Was exactly my recommendation in Berlin this weekend. Stimulated especially by a presentation Julian Cox… but has basically been the most feasible path forward for them that I’ve seen for a while. E.ON and RWE had to do it with renewables. Would be better if the big OEMs could do it with a bit more foresight.

  • markogts

    Well, neither Tesla has yet fully exploited the freedom electrical power train gives. They are still bound to the usual car (or suv) shape. Maybe they don’t want to risk too much on styling issues; but I’d like to see daring new proposals.

    • nakedChimp

      The more efficient/economical (less body volume) you make it the smaller the crumble zone becomes.. this might not float well with the rich early adopters that are supposed to buy the product in question.
      We can start counting beans at the cost of passive safety when we need to get 20,000 $ and less BEVs on the road for the masses.
      Just look at an iMiev and you see what I mean.

    • neroden

      Aptera? It was unstable in heavy winds.

  • Roger Lambert

    In other news, Hewlett-Packard says that hand-held calculators will soon be surpassed in popularity by the personal computer. And Sears has announced that it will consider the phase-out of its policy of mailing full catalogs to every household in the nation.

  • No, Ian. Electric powertrains have ALREADY reinvented the car. What you describe as the future, Tesla has been doing since the release of the Model S. Get on board quickly or fear Tesla being able to ramp up quicker than expected.

  • omar

    To Jaguar: if you want success build fast chargong infrastructure before the car. thanks, Oumar

    • Cubanx

      Better yet just pay Tesla to use their existing Supercharger network. Nissan is a perfect example of wasting money on a hap hazard quick charging network through dealerships that could care less if the customers have access to a free service.

      • omar

        i agree that can be a possibility but then Tesla wil have to triple its network to absorb the curent models running and the coming model 3 and Jaguar. what is the problem of Nissan fast chargers ?

        • Bob_Wallace

          Join up with Tesla and each company finance a SuperCharger bay for each x cars sold. That would allow the system to expand into uncovered areas much faster.

          • J.H.

            There is know such thing as a free lunch. Free charging is not free. But I commend Tesla for progressive change and the in site that infrastructure a basic necessity. Furthermore, the EV
            industry needs to standardize all Ev’s with the ability to Supercharging. The business model that Tesla has created with the “Free Charging Infrastructure” is brilliant. And it will be hard for any other manufacture to develop a similar model. They appear reluctant.

          • nakedChimp

            It won’t be hard to copy, but it will be very hard to top it 😉

          • J.H.

            Just a few Billion

    • freelance-writer

      There is a simple solution that evades common-sense premised on an old model. But I’m not about to let this be known so easily: think about it???

      • omar

        i dont understand anything

        • Bob_Wallace

          I have no idea why freelance thinks he contributes to the discussion by playing games. One very simple solution is to use the Tesla Supercharging system.

          Tesla is willing and their requirements for others to use their system seems to be reasonable.

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