Jaguar confirms electric XJ

Published : 07 Jul 2019 06:12 PM | Updated : 07 Sep 2020 12:58 PM

Clifford Atiyeh

Despite its statement that "the future of mobility is electric" and reports last fall that Jaguar could become an "EV-only brand within the next decade," Jaguar is not dropping fossil fuels entirely to become an all-electric car brand. Instead, according to a statement released today, the plan is to offer electric powertrains as a choice for every new Jaguar and Land Rover model starting in 2020. By "new," this is likely to mean "all new," as the first car to debut under this plan will be the next-gen XJ sedan, which will be fully electric.

The British automaker's Castle Bromwich plant, which currently assembles the XE, the XF, the XJ, and the F-type, is being retooled for production of the new Modular Longitudinal Architecture (MLA) that will underpin every Jaguar Land Rover vehicle by 2025, including that new XJ. MLA is a rear-wheel-drive, aluminum-intensive platform that can accommodate hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and battery-electric powertrains, as well as both diesel and gasoline engines.

While diesel engines face intense government scrutiny in the European Union, they make up 87 percent of JLR's sales across the continent. Worldwide, according to an investor presentation from last summer, JLR expects that plug-in hybrids and EVs will only make up 5 percent of all sales in the "near term" future, while gasoline engines with or without electric assist will comprise 60 percent.

JLR said that while its forthcoming UK battery plant will build up to 150,000 batteries per year, "increased consumer takeup remains a challenge." The company is calling for automakers, suppliers, and the UK government to team up on a "gigascale" plant to rival Tesla's Nevada Gigafactory. JLR has already paired with BMW to share the development costs of electric powertrains.

The company has already been steadily electrifying its lineup in the past year. In addition to the I-Pace, JLR's first fully electric car, the Range Rover and the Range Rover Sport will soon be available with plug-in-hybrid powertrains as well as JLR's new 3.0-liter turbocharged and supercharged inline-six, which has a 48-volt hybrid system that includes a belt-driven motor-generator and 200-watt lithium-ion battery. It's unlikely that smaller vehicles including the refreshed XE and the upcoming facelifted F-type will accommodate the new six. Then there's also JLR's turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four, which is paired with a 48-volt hybrid system on higher trims of the new Range Rover Evoque and the facelifted Land Rover Discovery Sport and should make its way into more models in the near future.