This story about Jaguar was first published on CleanTechnica
Jaguar Land Rover is the latest well known auto manufacturer to admit that the future of automobiles is electric. Like Volvo announced a couple of months ago, Jaguar Land Rover’s plan is to not produce a single vehicle without an electric motor and battery from 2020 onward, according to The Guardian. (Edit: BBC reports the news a bit differently, stating, “JLR said every vehicle line launched from 2020 will have an all-electric or hybrid version, the first of which would be the Jaguar I-Pace, to go on sale in 2018.” I’ve reached out to JLR to clear up the confusion, but the BBC’s statement certainly seems more likely.)
This is exciting, but it also implicitly poses several questions. How many of these cars will be fully electric cars? Will the hybrids primarily include small batteries and low range or will they offer plugs and enough range for 90% electric driving? Where will the batteries come from — which battery producer(s) and factories? What types of vehicles will the procession of new electrified models prioritize? What charging options will Jaguar Land Rover drivers have at their fingertips? Will Jaguar Land Rover partner with Tesla so that its premium-class drivers can get access to a premium-class, superfast charging network?
Ah, yes, plenty of details to still learn, but at least the spark of excitement has been started with an announcement that is effectively just two years away.
Like Volvo, the interesting thing about this announcement from Jaguar Land Rover is that the company had seemingly made very little electric progress beforehand. Jaguar has one electric model announced that isn’t even on the market yet. (Volvo just has a few plug-in hybrids.) What spurred such a dramatic change of course? Good question. Probably a combination of dropping battery prices, regulations around the world, the power and performance capability of electric drivetrains, and the threat Tesla is posing in the premium car market.
Jaguar is also pushing a 2040 concept to position itself as a futuristic and high-tech company, according to an email I received seconds ago (like, literally — right after finishing the above paragraph), but such unrealistic concepts are not really our cup of tea here on CleanTechnica. We’re much more interested in action today and tomorrow for this year and this decade. The good news is that Jaguar Land Rover seems to be putting some pressure down on the torque pedal while it’s also throwing around concept car press releases.
Interestingly, Ralf Speth, Jaguar Land Rover’s CEO, is also a bit cautious and concerned about the autonomous electric vehicle future we are headed into, despite trying to position his company as a leader here. He brought up the threat to a massive employment sector that we’re all by now familiar with — what will happen to all the professional drivers once autonomous vehicles take over? He went a step further and also offered some sympathyto the future of oil-producing countries: “Many could be forced to impose substantial spending cuts within the next five years, straining living standards and so creating unrest in areas already suffering from instability,” he stated. Indeed … that’s what happens during major technology transitions.
Additionally, he echoed some of the concerns of Tesla CEO Elon Musk when it comes to autonomous cars, AI, and cybersecurity. “The very technology that could liberate us, autonomous vehicles, could become a method of insecurity and enslavement … Big freedoms could end up creating the big brother state.”
As a final note, it’s perhaps worth highlighting that Volvo is now owned by Chinese company Geely and Jaguar Land Rover is now owned by Indian giant Tata. That’s something to ponder as we discuss societal transitions.