Range Rover — Jaguar Land Rover’s luxury SUV range — is traditionally associated with high-paid sports stars, A-list celebrities and go-anywhere opulence. In almost every case, those associations and preconceptions come with a large, powerful, gas-guzzling V-6 or V-8.
Now it appears that Jaguar Land Rover might be about to change Range Rover’s gas-guzzling reputation with the rumor that it is considering the possibility of producing an all-electric Range-Rover model to cross-shop against Tesla’s Model S and Model X in the luxury car marketplace.
That’s according to AutoCar, who claims that Jaguar Land Rover group engineering director Wolfgang Ziebart hinted recently that the British-based firm was seriously considering a plug-in vehicle for the Chinese and U.S. markets.
This, says the British magazine, ties in with previous conversations it has had recently with Land Rover design chief Gerry McGovern, who recently hinted to the press that future Range Rover models would help expand the brand’s image, working on “incredibly luxurious, low-slung” Range Rovers. Or in other words, a move away from the brand’s traditional values of offering go-anywhere capabilities without sacrificing either luxury or handling.
Such a model, AutoCar posits, could be built with a range of power train options, from conventional gasoline and diesel through to all-electric. The vehicle, which would still be able to go off-road thanks to adjustable air suspension, would be built with a bias towards on-road manners and fuel efficiency, using the same kind of lightweight construction technology used in the recently-refreshed Range Rover Sport. Unlike other Land Rover Models, the Range Rover Sport features an all-aluminium chassis, with riveted, rather than welded, panel joins.
Like the Tesla Model S, air suspension would come into play on the road, allowing the future electric Range Rover to hunker down on higher-speed routes, improving handling, aerodynamic qualities and energy efficiency.
But in order to be truly competitive against a Tesla Model S or Tesla Model X, a future plug-in Range-Rover would need to offer at least 250 miles per charge, not to mention offer the same quick refuelling capabilities and, some might argue, a similar ‘free fuel’ promise comparable to Tesla’s Supercharger network.
We feel at this point that it’s worth reiterating that AutoCar doesn’t appear to have anything concrete on which to base its rumor, although the named sources it does cite do appear to suggest more than mere suppositions on the subject of a future plug-in model. Without any firm, official confirmation from Jaguar Land Rover however, we’re careful to note that these are just rumors at the current time.
Like AutoCar however, we can see some logic in the rumor. In the past few years, we’ve Jaguar Land Rover at least flirt with plug-in vehicles. First of all, there was the plug-in hybrid Range Rover concept Jaguar Land Rover was demonstrating back in 2012, a car that it has since indicated will influence a future plug-in hybrid model.
Then there’s the all-electric Land Rover Defender, a go-anywhere, truly off-road 4×4 prototype which Land Rover says can wade through up to 80 centimetres of water without getting into trouble, can run for several hours off-road without running flat, and is being tested at various National Trust locations across the UK right now.
Combine this with Jaguar Land Rover’s plans for future Jaguar plug-in hybrid models, and suddenly this rumor seems more than just circumspection.
But what do you think? Does Jaguar Land Rover need to bring a plug-in Range Rover — specifically an all-electric one — to market in order to head off the threat from Tesla? And more importantly, would you buy an all-electric Range Rover over a Tesla Model X?
Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.
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