Jaguar Land Rover has become the latest large carmaker to say it will stop launching new models solely powered by internal combustion engines, two months after Volvo pledged to do so.
The UK-based manufacturer promised that all new models from 2020 will be fully electric or hybrid, a year later than Volvo’s target, but a big step beyond its unveiling last November of a single electric concept car.
The plan comes after the Scottish government said it would phase out the need for petrol and diesel cars by 2032, eight years earlier than the UK and French targets of banning sales of new cars with internal combustion engines.
Dr Ralf Speth, JLR’s chief executive, said: “Every new Jaguar Land Rover model line will be electrified from 2020, giving customers even more choice.”
Average CO2 emissions from JLR cars were 164g (5.8oz) per kilometre in 2015, well above the UK average of 121.4g. More importantly, they are a long way from the 95g target a manufacturer must hit by 2021.
Prof David Bailey, an automotive expert at Aston University, said the company had been slow to wake up to electric vehicles.
“Jaguar are playing catchup – Tesla has stolen a chunk of their lunch, BMW are way ahead as well,” he said.
“The premium end of things is moving more quickly [towards electrification] in part because electric car costs are higher at the moment because of battery costs, so they can absorb that. It’s also
because they are heavily dependent on diesel and the market is moving away from diesel.”
JLR, a subsidiary of the Indian conglomerate Tata, makes no electric cars currently but plans to begin building production versions of its battery-powered SUV next year.
The I-Pace will have a range of 310 miles (500km), putting it on a par with competition from US-based Tesla but ahead of cheaper options such as the new Nissan Leaf, Unveiled last year.
JLR has indicated that it would like to build an electric car plant in the UK, similar to Nissan’s Sunderland facility, where the Leaf is built, but it has yet to make a concrete commitment.
The Leaf is the UK’s bestselling electric model and with a new facelift and an extended 235-mile range, the technology advances are moving as quickly as Video did to DVD.
Such a move would be a significant boost to the British car industry and follows BMW, which in July pledged to build its electric Mini in Oxford. Jaguar sold more than 583,000 cars in 136 countries last year.
Industry watchers had spotted earlier this year that JLR had trademarked a series of car names that suggest an electric future, although the company will continue to build existing petrol and diesel models beyond 2020.
JLR could not pursue its electric ambitions alone, questions over whether the government is doing enough on infrastructure. Where is the network of charging points that [electric cars] will require to function? Indeed, where is the power grid that will allow us to build them?
Ministers already announced the launch of a new industry-and-government-backed brand to develop driverless vehicles in the UK. The Meridian hub will coordinate research and development into the technology, paid for by carmakers and £100m in public funding.
BMW, which has sold 8,000 electric cars in the UK, said on Thursday that it plans to have 25 electrified vehicles on sale by 2025, a dozen of which would be fully electric.
The German carmaker boasted that the models would have a range of up to 435 miles, more than double the range of most current electric vehicles.
Governments keen to tackle air pollution and cut carbon emissions are driving electric car production, alongside falling battery prices.
However, a report found that on average, 1.7% of carmakers’ sales were electric vehicles, compared with their own target of 3.6%.
Hilton Vehicle Leasing is at the frorefront of advising it's clients on the changes and providing financial solutions to ease the initial outlay for these vehicles.
Manging Drirector, Morgan Devereux, said "we have had a better than expected residual value performance lately when defleeting our electric vehicles. This was a slow process as the used electric car market was almost non existant and dealerships were a little weary to step in to the unknown. We have partnered with a number of used car oulets and assisted them to gain confidence in the products. As one of the first to take Tesla product to the contract hire market in 2012 we have learnt more about the whole life costs and to date all our customers have been pleased with their choice"
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