Hardcore auto enthusiasts would have heard about this news sometime back and would have had mixed feelings about it. Especially just after Jaguar pulled off a cheeky ad for its XFR-S, roasting BMW in the process. But when a mainstream performance/luxury carmaker goes on record to say that all their models would be electrified by 2030 and by the end of 2039 they would go zero-carbon, reality hits hard. Of course, EVs are the way to go and we have some big German car companies introducing all-electric cars – but to go completely electric? That requires guts and to give a timeline for the same, Jaguar Land Rover has to be applauded. Talking about electrics, Jaguar has launched the I-Pace at Rs 1.05 crore, giving company to the Mercedes-Benz EQC in this less crowded segment. And the latter even made a cool ad to welcome its competitor to the Indian market.
This is the big strategy that JLR will implement under the leadership of CEO Thierry Bolloré. While Jaguar has plans to go all-electric by 2025 (except for the XJ replacement), Land Rover will be 60 per cent electric by 2030 and the first all-electric Land Rover will make its debut by 2024, says the company. So which will be the first all-electric Land Rover? That is a mystery for now and is open for speculation. Building new architectures for supporting all-electric powertrains will be a huge task and the companies have invested approx. Euro 2.5 billion for the major overhaul.
Jaguar Land Rover to focus on Hydrogen power
JLR aims to be carbon neutral by 2039 and this applies across all areas – be it supply chain, products, and operations and to realize such a vision, JLR is banking on hydrogen power and fuel cell technology. The company says that developments are already underway and that you will be able to see the test mules in less than a year plying the European roads.
Two new platforms
Land Rover will develop a new platform called Modular Longitudinal Architecture (MLA) which will support both hybrid and electric powertrains. Land Rover will also use another platform called the Electric Modular Architecture (EMA) which will also support hybrids. However, future Jaguar cars will be built on an architecture that will be exclusive to the electric powertrains. The purr of the big cat will be sorely missed and the next generation of kids will never know how an ICE Jag evoked emotions that tugged the heartstrings and gave so much character to each car. It remains to be seen if these new EVs will use artificial sounds that will be piped into the cabin and out of it to give that ICE feeling and not be deathly silent all the time.
N Chandrasekaran, Chairman of Tata Sons, on the new strategy
“The Reimagine strategy takes Jaguar Land Rover on a significant path of acceleration in harmony with the vision and sustainability priorities of the wider Tata Group. Together, we will help Jaguar realise its potential, reinforce Land Rover’s timeless appeal, and collectively become a symbol of a truly responsible business for its customers, society, and the planet.”
Full steam ahead for EVs
All said and done, what does this announcement mean for enthusiasts in India? Another question is what will the SVO do if Jaguar kills off IC engines altogether? The main role of performance wings of various car companies is to take the best-selling cars (or make exclusive ones) and dial-up the performance levels to 11 by spicing up a whole lot of things inside and out. So with no ICE in the picture, how will they spice up things? EVs from these big performance/luxury car makers will already be fast, so how the performance EV models (if any) will be any different from the ‘normal’ EVs? And coming to the performance wings of various carmakers, it is the sound of the engine and the build-up of performance accompanied by the sound effect along with excellent dynamics that make a world of difference between the regular car and the performance version. Which brings me to this – how performance EVs will manage to evoke the same kind of emotion? For all you know, EVs may surprise us because they already have a clear edge over ICE cars when it comes to straight-line performance and the rapid buildup of speed. So what are your thoughts on JLR going full steam ahead to EV station?