By on September 17, 2019

2019 Jaguar I-Pace

Based in a region where internal combustion is treated by lawmakers with the same respect as the guy who cuts one in an elevator, Jaguar Land Rover boss Ralph Speth knows there’s only one way forward for his company. To remain viable in Europe and China and hedge its bets in North America, the JLR range needs electrification in a hurry.

Diesel market share is dropping like pants at a kegger and emissions standards aren’t getting any less stringent. No time to waste.

However, with one electric crossover already on the market and a range of EVs coming down the pipe, JLR faces the same hurdles as other automakers going the green route. And Speth doesn’t see things getting easier for a while — unless someone outside the company takes the heat off.

Speaking to Britain’s Autocar, Speth laid out the biggest factor in achieving profitability and success in the EV realm.

“The price of electric cars is still too high, as we need to do a big range,” he said. “So, you have a big battery that is needed, as you can’t charge the car. If you can charge, we can make the battery smaller and bring the cost down.”

The solution to this problem is infrastructure, but first someone needs to build it. While it’s a bigger issue in North America, where distances are greater and EV take rates lag behind those seen in Europe, the landscape in the UK and Germany still isn’t smooth sailing. Meanwhile, battery costs aren’t shrinking nearly as fast as many would like.

“There will be no reduced cost for three to five years. We need a more dense charging network, more quality and more quantity, that are more standardised and provide faster charging,” Speth said. “You clearly need a good spread across the country, not just in London.”

In the European market, the Jaguar I-Pace’s best sales month came last December, when the company unloaded 2,982 of the electric CUVs across the continent. That’s December, however — typically a boffo month for auto sales, especially for vehicles carrying government tax incentives as standard equipment. This year, the I-Pace’s best month in Europe was May, with 1,375 sold. News of bloated I-Pace inventories and slow sales cropped up in August.

Public adoption will rise (along with profitability) as infrastructure catches up and sticker prices fall, but that day remains a far-off bright spot for JLR. “It will come later, but it will come,” Speth remarked.

[Images: Jaguar Land Rover]

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10 Comments on “At Least for EVs, Jaguar Doesn’t See the Bumpy Road Smoothing Out for Years...”


  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Jaguar/Land Rover probably spent a whole lot of money developing the (excellent) I-PACE, the upcoming Model-S-fighting XJ, and PHEV and MHEV versions of their current range. They cannot afford to take straight losses on this stuff to the same extent that their German counterparts can. It’s good, then, that they apparently understand that.

    As for me, I think I’ve bought my last ICE daily driver.

    • 0 avatar
      Lockstops

      Funny, I’m just about to buy a ‘full ICE’ car again after owning an EV (with range extender) and then a PHEV. Luckily the EV and PHEV were easy to sell at a good price since that segment seems to contain a lot of suckers.

      Even with subsidies a diesel ICE car makes more sense financially than an EV (for people whose time is valuable, where electricity costs a fair amount, and where the climate is cold), and you get a much better car to live with every day too. But I’m willing to pay a bit extra to go for a bigger gasoline engine, it’s just worth it to me.

      Luckily my neighbour will probably buy my charging station too (though I’ll take a hit on that since the price of charging stations have gone down so much since I bought mine).

      What is there in common with a certain male organ and the range of an EV? They both shrink in cold temperatures.

  • avatar

    Jaguar and Volvo’s have beautiful lines.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “Public adoption will rise (along with profitability) as infrastructure catches up and sticker prices fall, but that day remains a far-off bright spot for JLR. “It will come later, but it will come,” Speth remarked.”

    There is a *lot* that is in play, but I do wonder if these will end up being the Y2K hoax of the 21st Century.

    “The total cost of the work done in preparation for Y2K is estimated at over US$300 billion ($436 billion as of January 2018, once inflation is taken into account).[61][62] IDC calculated that the US spent an estimated $134 billion ($195 billion) preparing for Y2K, and another $13 billion ($19 billion) fixing problems in 2000 and 2001. Worldwide, $308 billion ($448 billion) was estimated to have been spent on Y2K remediation.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_2000_problem

  • avatar
    stingray65

    The i-Pace is ugly which is particularly bad news when it carries the Jaguar badge that most people associate with great styling. Throw in mediocre performance and range (compared to Tesla and recent high end German EVs) and it is not difficult to see why they are struggling. And to throw salt in their wound, they lose money on every single unit they sell/lease.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I actually like the looks of the I-Pace, but agree with you on every other point. If Jaguar thinks the only way out of the hole is with EVs (not sure they are right), then I don’t know how they can succeed.

  • avatar

    What is Lucas electrical and why everyone refers to it?

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    “as we need to do a big range”

    What you need is a range of ranges. It is not one size fits all.

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