Jaguar says that electrification of its model line-up is an inevitable part of the brand’s future as it seeks to overcome ever-tightening emission restrictions while delivering sporty vehicles that befit the values of the British brand.
While the company’s performance arm, Special Vehicle Operations (SVO), is considering electrification as one form of meeting those demands, Jaguar itself has already committed to producing an electric car, but says that such a model will still need to be a Jaguar at heart.
Speaking with CarAdvice at the launch of the Jaguar F-Pace in Europe this week, Jaguar’s director of public relations, Richard Agnew, admitted that other brands have already proven that electrification is a valid method for reducing emissions and increasing performance.
“I think if you look at the C-X75, where we had a down-sized four [cylinder], forced induction, 1.6-litre with 550hp (410kW) plus, then the two electric motors to give a total power of around 750-800hp (560kW)… it’s incredible [what can be done].
“One thing we’ve said is hybridisation and electrification still needs to deliver, whether it’s a Jaguar, Land Rover, Range Rover or the SVR badge, [is] the brand promise. It doesn’t matter what the powertrain is, it needs to deliver the essence of the product, what the brand needs to deliver and what the consumers want," he said.
Models such as the Range Rover Sport Hybrid formed the early first steps for the British brands in electrification, but signalled just the beginning of what is yet to come.
Although sales of hybrid vehicles have been very slow in our market – largely a result of no incentives from the state or federal governments – the time will come when Australia’s vehicle emission restrictions will begin to tighten and increased taxation will begin to apply on vehicles emitting higher CO2 emissions.
Brands like Tesla have shown that the worldwide market is indeed ready for full-electric vehicles with the Model 3 having gathered more than a quarter of a million pre-orders in less than a week of being announced, despite not going on sale for at least another 12 months.
These are important developments that haven’t escaped Jaguar's attention, with Agnew admitting that new thinking needs to be put into how full electric vehicles are designed.
“For sheer grunt, two power supplies is better than one. When we go to full EV you get the benefit of not having to carry the ICE (internal combustion engine) around, which is a weight benefit… So because you’re taking the IC power plant out you end up with a lot more freedom, it completely changes the rules of car design, so that’s gone now.”