Tightening emissions laws, and tough competition from Tesla Motors in the luxury car segment seems to have convinced British car maker Jaguar Land Rover that it’s time to bring its own long-range luxury sedan to market in the near future.
At least, that’s the rumour according to British car magazine AutoCar, which cites several ‘well-placed industry sources’ as saying that inside Jaguar’s Coventry headquarters development of a big car powered entirely by electricity is well underway. Range is claimed to be around the 300-mile mark, while pricing would put it squarely against the Tesla Model S in the marketplace.
While Jaguar Land Rover isn’t confirming anything to the press as yet, AutoCar says the company is using the experience of electric drivetrains it gained developing the now-cancelled CX-75 turbine electric plug-in hybrid supercar. We should note too, that project isn’t the first time we’ve seen the Jaguar Land Rover group experiment with electric propulsion: in the past five years, we’ve see plug-in hybrid prototype Range Rover_e and Jaguar XJ_e models, a hybrid variant of the Range Rover Sport, and even an all-electric, go-anywhere Land Rover Defender.
The reasons for the British marque to finally opt for an electric production model however seems to be driven by legislation in the U.S. as well as Tesla Motors’ runaway success in the luxury car market.
Under increasingly tough ZEV mandates in California which require automakers to produce and sell a specific percentage of zero emissions vehicles every year in order to be allowed to sell in-state, the Jaguar Land Rover group will soon be forced to build at least some of its own zero emission cars or spend large sums of money buying ZEV credits from other automakers. Historically as a mid-volume automaker under Californian regulations, the ZEV mandate hasn’t impacted it all that much. But as those mandates start to increase proportionally for all automakers over the coming decade, Jaguar Land Rover needs to at least offer some form of zero emission car.
Indeed, increased U.S. sales of recent years has pushed Jaguar Land Rover up the volume vehicle manufacturer chart, and says AutoCar could even put it into the large volume automaker classification by the end of the decade. This would put it under even more pressure to build and sell a zero emission vehicle in California.
It’s that same logic which fires previous rumours we’ve heard about an all-electric low-slung Range Rover for the U.S. market, although we should note that the latest rumour of an all-electric Jaguar model bases it on the upcoming Jaguar F-Pace SUV. While it’s not clear if this is a different model to the previously-mentioned all-electric Range Rover, we have to acknowledge that it’s likely that the two electric vehicles will share a common drivetrain and battery pack, and possibly even a chassis.
Alongside the regulatory pressure felt by the luxury brand, we’re sure Tesla Motors’ seemingly unstoppable march on the luxury car segment has Jaguar Land Rover worried. With the Tesla Model S P85 D offering all-wheel drive capabilities better than some crossover SUVs and better acceleration than any other production sedan on the market today, the Californian automaker is a force to be reckoned with.
Worse still, the classic lines of the Tesla Model S are easily mistaken for a Jaguar at a distance.
Of course, electric models wouldn’t just pay dividends for Jaguar Land Rover’s fortunes in the U.S. In the exploding automotive market of China, where the rapidly-expanding brand-conscious middle-class view western automotive brands as status symbols, an electric Jaguar or Range Rover model would sell extremely well.
Would you opt for an electric Jaguar or Range Rover if they were available? Or do you think Tesla takes some beating in the luxury long-range marketplace?
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