At Least for EVs, Jaguar Doesn't See the Bumpy Road Smoothing Out for Years

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
at least for evs jaguar doesnt see the bumpy road smoothing out for years

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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