An announcement on Jaguar Land Rover’s electric vehicle strategy appears imminent, with the company making it clear at the 2016 Paris motor show that it’s moving to plug in soon.
To this point a new Jaguar electric vehicle has been alluded to, and that remains the most likely option, with further reports stating that the company is looking to invest hundreds of millions of pounds in the UK to establish a new electric vehicle manufacturing facility.
But nothing has been made official just yet, despite the fact that Jaguar is planning to enter its I-Type race car in the Formula E championship for 2016/2017.
“First of all, we are stepping in. We know what we’re doing, so it’s not by accident that we are going into Formula E,” he said.
“It will be a huge, let’s say, academy for all of our young engineers to learn fast,” Speth said.
“We want to produce something special because, with confirmation it’s not only a new electronic architecture and electronic features, at the end of the day it’s a completely new propulsion system combined with traditional elements.
“We started late, we started late with this adventure. But let’s see,” Speth said.
When asked what brand and what type of vehicle actual customers might see with a plug rather than a fuel pipe, Speth had little to add.
“We normally try not to make a lot of announcements prior to when we can show you something. But I will say if you are a little bit curious and a little bit patient – so, not too long – watch this space,” he said.
That sort of cryptic clue suggests that an announcement could happen at one of the next major auto shows – Los Angeles in November, perhaps, or more like Geneva in March next year.
Andy Goss, global sales director at Jaguar Land Rover, said that electrification plans are simply part of doing business in the automotive industry right now.
“You know there won’t be anybody here [at the Paris motor show] that has not got an electrification plan. If they tell you they do not, they’re lying,” he said.
“We’ve all got plans. We’ve got hybridisation plans, we’ve got electrification plans, we’ve got diesel plans, we’ve got petrol plans.
“We’ve got to get below a certain point,” he said of the ever-tightening emissions regulations. “That was probably, honestly, the start for us.
“But since that time, there’s an active consumer interest in doing that as well. It makes sense for people, it’s not just because of regulation,” he said.
“We’re not in a position to articulate it yet, but when we will be I think you’ll be impressed with what we’ve got. But that’s part of the future – not just because of regulations, though: consumers want [an electric] car,” Goss said.
“Customers want it, but how much are they prepared to pay for it? We’re at early doors on that situation.
“But I think we’re all clear in terms of the fact that a significant percentage of the market wants electrification, and under variable lease payments as well.
“They’re not writing out cheques, they’re buying on lease payments where it’s probably better volumes and that means a strong second-hand market, et cetera.
“The bottom line of all this is that we’ve all got plans. In the future we might be able to articulate electrification or hybridisation,” he said.