Jaguar Land Rover to Go All-electric! Is it even possible?

Jaguar Land Rover made a major announcement in the early part of this month and committed itself to an electric future. According to its statement, all Jaguar Land Rover’s cars, starting from 2020, will be electrified. They are giving an electric powertrain to every one of their models, including the recently announced Jaguar I-Pace EV, and the anticipated Land Rover Defender. This is a major step for the company and promises a milestone in favor of the emission-free future because Jaguar Land Rover is the biggest carmaker of the UK.

The company, which is owned by India’s Tata Motors, is quite confident that its electric vehicles will match, if not exceed the performances of its present lineup of all-weather vehicles. That will be crucial for the carmaker. After all, Land Rover’s cars are best described as off-road tanks for the common citizen. So, the question on everyone’s minds is – can JLR deliver on its electric promise, or is it making false promises that it can’t keep?

Well, to be honest, JLR is kind of facing quite a lot of pressure to reinvent itself. Air pollution is linked to 40,000 deaths in the UK. What’s worse is that the transport sector is the second biggest source of greenhouse gases in the country and responsible for roughly one-fifth of the total greenhouse emissions. Naturally, all car manufacturers are under pressure from the government to curb their emissions. Indeed, both UK and France have created an outline to phase out all petrol (gasoline) and diesel-fuelled cars by the year 2040. The reaction from the entire car industry has been swift, especially since the Paris Climate Accord. The British brand Aston Martin declared it would go all-electric by 2025. Swedish automotive company Volvo followed suit by announcing that it will go completely electric and hybrid as early as 2019. So, yes. JLR is under immense pressure to make some necessary changes.

Land Rover’s vehicles are notorious for being gas-guzzlers, but they are high powered vehicles that do amazingly well in all weathers and off-road situations as well. That’s why they are popular even with the British military. Now, can they replicate such high performance when they replace their internal combustion engines with battery-powered motors? Well, there is no reason why they can’t.

Electric engine technology is not in its nascence anymore. The most disruptive player in this industry, Tesla Motors, has decisively demonstrated that not only can all-electric vehicles be as powerful as their gasoline cousins, but even surpass them in a variety of aspects. They proved their point by releasing multiple sports models that have clocked at speeds as high as 155mph. Tesla’s massive success in the United States has paved the way for other manufacturers across the world to pursue electric options. So, JLR naturally feels quite confident that it can supply enough power to its 4-wheel drives from an electric motor.

Yet, JLR is hedging its bets by following a 3-pronged strategy. It will create all-electric, plug-in hybrid, and mild-hybrid versions of its current lineup. Which of these options will outperform the others, only time will tell.