Jaguar Land Rover will offer electric options across its range of sleek sedans and upscale SUVs as the tradition-rich British carmaker pivots toward electric vehicles under pressure from the U.K. and other governments. By 2020, the entire range of Jaguar cars and Land Rover sport utility vehicles will be available in fully electric, plug-in hybrid and so-called mild hybrid variants, Chief Executive Officer Ralf Speth said Thursday in a Bloomberg Television interview with Manus Cranny and Anna Edwards. Underscoring its electric shift, Jaguar will start selling the I-PACE battery-powered performance SUV next year. The company has 25,000 orders for the vehicle already, Speth said.
Authorities in France and the U.K. outlined plans in July to ban the sale of diesel and gasoline cars by 2040 as a means to reduce air pollution and carbon-dioxide emissions, which are linked to global warming. The move is less aggressive than plans by Volvo Car Group. The Swedish brand intends to offer only hybrid or battery versions of its new models as of 2019. The hybrid autos reduce fuel burn by being able to drive short distances or boost performance with the help of electric motors. To showcase the U.K. carmaker’s intent, Speth is unveiling designs for a battery version of Jaguar’s iconic E-Type roadster at the Tata Motors Ltd. division’s tech fair Thursday in London.
Jaguar Land Rover is also presenting a concept for a voice-activated, detachable steering wheel. Dubbed the Sayer, after E-Type designer Malcolm Sayer, the device is part of a futuristic vision in which cars will be used interchangeably with consumers taking personalized steering devices with them. “We are on the brink of the most exciting revolution in mobility in our history,” Speth in a speech opening the fair, which will include panel discussions on millennials’ car ownership, the gender gap in tech recruitment and possibilities in automation.
“We have the ideas to make it liberating, and transform lives, but it will require us all to make profound choices.”