In our latest article about Jaguar Land Rover, we reported that the British company, which is owned by India’s Tata Motors, is dipping a toe into the world of electric cars. This spring, it unveiled its first all electric car, the Jaguar I-PACE. In a statement by spokesperson Nathan Hoyt, the company told CleanTechnica that every new model it brings to market after 2020 will have an electric motor. That could mean it will be a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid, or a battery electric car. And it only applies to new models, not existing vehicles.
Such a statement is a rather tepid endorsement of the electric car revolution. As good as the I-PACE is (and it is very, very good!), fully 87% of all Jaguar Land Rover vehicles sold in 2017 were powered by a diesel engine. Bear in mind that Land Rover is a significant part of the JLR conglomeration and lots of those Land Rovers use diesel engines in order to obtain something more than dismal fuel economy.
Jaguar Land Rover is one of the few manufacturers not to have become embroiled in the diesel cheating scandal that broke over Volkswagen in 2015. Since then, real world testing has revealed that almost every other manufacturer has played fast and loose with the truth when it comes to their own diesel emissions. Fiat went so far as to simply program its diesel emissions controls to shut themselves off after about 25 minutes. The official testing protocol only lasts 20 minutes.
But all is not well in JLR Land. The taint associated with diesel engines has caused a drop in the sales of all diesel-powered vehicles, even those that have escaped the cheating scandal. At the end of our story on the future of Jaguar, we mentioned that market forces could disrupt the company’s carefully thought out plans. Indeed, on Monday, June 25, the company told investors at a meeting in London that it is raising its investment in electrification R&D by 25% to $18 billion over the next 3 years, according to Bloomberg. It will also create a software, information technology, and engineering center in Manchester, England, to work on connected car technology.
To put that in perspective, Ford Motor Company is crowing about spending $11 billion on electrification between now and 2025. JLR is planning to spend nearly double that in half the time, which tells you all you need to know about how Ford is sleepwalking its way into the future.
All six of the company’s factories in the UK will be converted to produce vehicles with electrified powertrains. The I-PACE is manufactured by Magna Steyr in Graz, Austria. In its announcement, the company said by 2025, all of its vehicles will have three versions — internal combustion, hybrid, or fully electric. Presumably, that statement includes existing models.
The company says it will only offer battery electric cars if there is sufficient demand from consumers. Based on the initial reviews for the Jaguar I-PACE, demand will not be a problem. Meeting that demand may be the biggest challenge the company has to face.
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