Jaguar Cars' global public relations director Paul Chadderton said, “We still believe there is a lot of mileage left in the internal combustion engine in terms of carrying on the development of that and the application of furthering that technology in what is seen as existing or traditional models.”
“The 2.0-litre Jaguar XJ is an interesting example of that, because that is where the notion of a large lightweight car is best shown from a powertrain perspective because that i4 engine weighs about 250kg, whereas the V8 is about 400kg. That’s a saving of 150kg.”
The full commercialisation of the C-X75 project from five prototype cars to production models was shelved due to the current global economic climate, which presented a less-than-satisfactory business case for the car. It’s the same reason Jaguar won’t be going ahead with a right-hand-drive version of an all-wheel-drive XJ for the UK.
“In the UK for example all-wheel-drive in the luxury segment is less than five per cent of the total volume, so frankly, it doesn’t warrant the effort to do it,” Chadderton said.
Jaguar considers hybridisation in the same manner. “At the moment off a base of around 54,000 units a year, if you were to do an XJ or an F-Type hybrid, the percentage of total sales would be less than 10 per cent.”
It’s a similar story with electric vehicles in the Jaguar camp. Until there’s a major breakthrough in battery technology and charge times, Jaguar doesn’t see the value in investing heavily in the technology.
Jaguar is more upbeat when it comes to internal combustion engines and range extenders. “A range extender is an ideal solution really, because you’ve got the smaller internal combustion engine topping up the battery all the time – the best of both worlds in many ways”, said Chadderton.
Jaguar will launch its much-anticipated F-Type two-seat sports car in April 2013, but with an investment of around $3 billion in product creation for this financial year, expect plenty more new-model activity from the Jaguar Land Rover Group over the next 24 months.