By on June 5, 2019

2019 Jaguar I-Pace

On the eve of D-Day, a British automaker and its German rival have teamed up to defeat a modern foe: spiraling development costs born of electrification. Europe’s going green these days, and the need to ditch diesel (and eventually gas) to satisfy the boys on Brussel, coupled with a general cooling off in Western demand, is placing strain on automaker budgets.

The cure, OEMs believe, is collaboration. In a world where BMW hopped into bed with its closest German rival on the mobility front, an electric powertrain partnership between Jaguar Land Rover and Bimmer doesn’t seem all that weird.

Announced Wednesday, the two automakers will join forces to develop next-generation electric drive units (EDUs) for a future crop of zero-emission vehicles. Both JLR and BMW have electric vehicles of their own (I-Pace, i3), with more on the way (iX3), but what both automakers want is the scale needed to make powertrain development financially viable.

“Joint investment in research & development, engineering and procurement will provide the necessary economies of scale to support increased consumer adoption of electric vehicles,” JLR wrote in its release.

EDUs will be developed by a team comprised of experts from both companies, JLR said, with assembly taking place at the companies’ respective production facilities. While Jaguar’s I-Pace earns high marks for its power, handling, and considerable range, it’s BMW’s upcoming iX3 that serves as the starting point for this venture. The model, due out next year, carries BMW’s “Gen 5” eDrive unit.

“The Gen 5 electric drive unit will be the propulsion system upon which subsequent evolutions launched together with Jaguar Land Rover will be based,” BMW said in a release.

“The automotive industry is undergoing a steep transformation. We see collaboration as a key for success, also in the field of electrification,” said Klaus Fröhlich, BMW board of management member in charge of development.

“With Jaguar Land Rover, we found a partner whose requirements for the future generation of electric drive units significantly match ours. Together, we have the opportunity to cater more effectively for customer needs by shortening development time and bringing vehicles and state-of-the-art technologies more rapidly to market.”

Nick Rogers, JLR’s engineering director, said talks between the two companies revealed “significant overlap” in electrification needs. As vehicles of a similar size and output were planned by both automakers, it was decided that pooling resources and fitting the models with the same propulsion system would prove “mutually beneficial,” he said.

No timeline is attached to the announcement.

[Images: Jaguar Land Rover, BMW Group]

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