Jaguar has the tech to achieve challenging electric shift, CEO Bollore says

Jaguar Land Rover CEO Thierry Bollore is confident that the automaker can overcome the challenges of making its storied Jaguar brand all-electric.

Jaguar has the tech to achieve challenging electric shift, CEO Bollore says

“We have the technology, we know how to do it,” Bollore  said in an interview with Bloomberg Television after the company outlined its new “Reimagine” electric-focused business plan.

Future Jaguar models will be built exclusively on a full-electric architecture, Bollore said during an online presentation on Monday. Land Rover will get six new full-electric models in the next five years with the aim of making 60 percent of its sales zero-emissions vehicles by 2030.

Bollore’s shift is poised to be challenging for the automaker, which was grappling with Brexit, stricter emissions rules and a dip in exports to China even before the coronavirus pandemic hit.

JLR has limited experience making EVs, and while it has introduced plug-in hybrid variants of models including the Range Rover Sport and new Land Rover Defender, its only full-electric vehicle — the Jaguar I-Pace SUV — has struggled to find a mass following.

Bollore: JLR may buy EV batteries produced in the UK.

“Automakers are getting more aggressive with their EV timelines, but some will be harder to meet than others,” said Colin McKerracher, an analyst with Bloomberg NEF. “Battery prices still need to fall further for mass-market brands to make the jump, but premium brands can get there sooner due to higher average purchase prices.”

Phasing out combustion-engine models could spell trouble for Jaguar’s Castle Bromwich plant in England, which employs almost 2,000 people making Jaguar XE and XF sedans as well as the F-Type sports car.

The company said it is exploring ways to “repurpose” the site after the models are phased out and plans to “substantially reduce and rationalize” its non-manufacturing infrastructure in the UK.

JLR may move activities including its high-end special-vehicle operations to Castle Bromwich, Bollore said in the interview.

The company will also consider buying EV batteries produced in the UK to meet local-content rules, he said.

The UK labor union Unite said it welcomes JLR’s strategy revamp but is supporting the company only if it sticks to pledges that it will not shutter plants or fire workers.

JLR’s push away from the internal combustion engine is the latest seismic automotive shift driven by stricter emissions rules. Automakers from German giant Volkswagen Group to Jaguar’s smaller rival Lotus Cars have announced plans to electrify their offerings as governments around the world increase aid for battery-powered vehicles and put in place rules restricting gasoline cars.

JLR failed to comply with Europe’s tougher carbon-dioxide rules last year and set aside 35 million pounds to pay for the resulting fines. The UK, its home market, will ban sales of gasoline and diesel cars from 2030, putting further pressure on legacy automakers.

Originally published at Automotive news europe