Jaguar Land Rover's (JLR) new boss has announced a major plan for the company to switch to (almost) all-electric power.
Thierry Bolloré, formerly of Renault and who took over the top job at JLR following the departure of Dr Ralf Speth, has said that the new 'Reimagine' plan will see all models built from three basic platforms, and that from 2025, Jaguar will be an entirely electric brand.
Three new electric platforms
Land Rover will continue to offer some petrol-electric hybrid and plug-in hybrid models beyond that date but will offer a full-electric version of everything it builds, with the first all-battery model coming in 2024.
"Jaguar Land Rover is unique in the global automotive industry. Designers of peerless models, an unrivalled understanding of the future luxury needs of its customers, emotionally rich brand equity, a spirit of Britishness and unrivalled access to leading global players in technology and sustainability within the wider Tata Group. We are harnessing those ingredients today to reimagine the business, the two brands and the customer experience of tomorrow. The Reimagine strategy allows us to enhance and celebrate that uniqueness like never before. Together, we can design an even more sustainable and positive impact on the world around us," said Bolloré.
Jaguar had actually beaten its major rivals at BMW, Mercedes, and Audi by getting the all-electric I-Pace to the market years ahead of EV offerings from those brands. But while the I-Pace has sold well, and been critically acclaimed in the years since, Jaguar and Land Rover's development of subsequent electric models had stalled. The all-new Jaguar XJ luxury saloon, which had been due to go on sale this year, was supposed to be the catalyst for a broader electric market assault, but that model has now been cancelled - in spite of having been close to production-ready - and the engineering effort will now be directed into producing the three electric platforms that the two brands will use.
Land Rover will use a new platform called the Modular Longitudinal Architecture (MLA) - which is already being developed for the next-generation Range Rover and Range Rover Sport. This setup will give the brand its first all-EV models, but can still be used to create PHEV models, using petrol engines, for markets where the charging infrastructure isn't as good. The move will at the very least allow Land Rover to sidestep incoming petrol and diesel sales bans in Ireland and the UK.
100 per cent EV sales for Jaguar
Some other Land Rover models will use the Electric Modular Architecture (EMA), which is designed only for electric vehicles, and which will also underpin most of Jaguar's new lineup. There will be a third platform, currently described as "a pure electric architecture" which will be exclusive to Jaguar, and which may well be used for very expensive ultra-luxury models.
By 2030, every single model in the JLR lineup will offer an entirely electric version, and by then Bolloré wants 100 per cent of Jaguar's sales to be electric, and 60 per cent of Land Rover's. The company, and its parent company, the Indian-based Tata conglomerate, will invest more than €2.5 billion every year in "electrification technologies and the development of connected services to enhance the journey and experiences of customers, alongside data-centric technologies that will further improve their ownership ecosystem."
Alongside the electric cars, Bolloré also confirmed that JLR will invest in hydrogen fuel cell technology, which could be used for larger, heavier models such as the Range Rover and Defender lineups in the future. An expansion of the subscription-sales service PIVOTAL, which launched on a pilot scheme in the UK last year, will also form part of the plan.
By 2039, JLR has said that it wants the company to be net-zero for carbon, "across its supply chain, products and operations."
Make the company more profitable
JLR has also confirmed that it will dig deeply into the expertise and industrial reach of the broader Tata group to hep it achieve its goals. "We have so many ingredients from within. It is a unique opportunity," said Mr Bolloré. "Others have to rely solely on external partnerships and compromise, but we have frictionless access that will allow us to lean forward with confidence and at speed." The plan also calls for the company to double its margins, before tax, on each car and to achieve "positive cash net-of-debt by 2025."
"Ultimately," said Bolloré; "Jaguar Land Rover aims to be one of the most profitable luxury manufacturers in the world. As a human-centred company, we can, and will, move much faster and with clear purpose of not just reimagining modern luxury but defining it for two distinct brands. Brands that present emotionally unique designs, pieces of art if you like, but all with connected technologies and responsible materials that collectively set new standards in ownership. We are reimagining a new modern luxury by design."