An all-electric Jaguar XJ is in the pipeline and will be vanguard of an “electric vehicle offensive”, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) boss Ralf Speth said at this week’s Frankfurt International Motor Show.
Confirming reports of a revival for the ditched XJ with electric drivetrain, an image was briefly shown during the company’s press conference, as the Jaguar boss told the audience about the British premium carmaker’s plans for an electric future.
“I am delighted to announce a major electric vehicle offensive to be built at Castle Bromwich,” Speth said, despite concerns in the UK over a fast-approaching post-Brexit future and apparently in response to declining interest in diesel vehicles which have been the mainstay of JLR sales, forcing a series of staff cuts over the last 12 months.
Captured by UK’s Auto Express, the image suggests an updated vision for the new ninth-generation XJ, the internal combustion engine (ICE) version of which the carmaker ditched in July.
It appears to show a flash of the rear end of the vehicle, with sleek angular lines as opposed to the snobbish curves of its ICE predecessor – a sign of the “new tranquility” of zero emissions vehicles according to Jaguar Land Rover CEO Prof. Ralf Speth.
“Based on our rich knowledge and experience gained from the I-Pace, Formula-E and I-Pace eTROPHY, our engineering team is in full swing to deliver the world’s first, full-electric luxury sports saloon. The flagship of Jaguar: the all-new XJ,” said Speth at the JLR press conference.
“The new, all-electric XJ – extraordinarily remastered for the 21st century – will offer spiritual freedom for our customers,” he said.
“Gliding in elegance, new tranquillity and new functionality, and in full consciousness taking care of the environment.”
The new electric XJ will be produced at JLR’s retooled Castle Bromwich plant with the same team responsible for Jaguar’s all-electric premium SUV, the I-Pace, working on design and development.
“This facility will give us flexibility to develop EVs and hybrid vehicles alongside our diesel cars, giving customers even greater choice,” Speth said.
To power the all-electric XJ the carmaker also intends to build a battery factory in the vein of Tesla’s gigafactories at Hams Hall, North Warwickshire, which it intends to put into operation by 2020 supplying batteries for 150,000 electric JLR vehicles a year.
Speth says that this decision has been made “for the better of society” although the carmaker has been given no assurance in the case of a no-deal Brexit.
“If battery production goes out of the UK then automotive production will go out of the UK,” Speth said.
“The battery is 40 per cent of the cost of an electric vehicle – we want to keep this kind of added value inside the UK.”
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.