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From 2020, all new models manufactured by Jaguar Land Rover will be electrified – though that doesn’t signify the end for the company’s internal combustion engines, says CEO, Dr Ralf Speth.
In Johannesburg recently to assess the progress of Jaguar Land Rover South Africa’s R1,1-billion investment programme aimed at upgrading its network of 34 dealerships, Speth met with media representatives at the remodeled Jaguar Land Rover Waterford flagship in Fourways to discuss the company’s plans regarding electrification.
“While it is true that we will have electric motors in all new models produced by Jaguar and Land Rover from 2020, we will continue to offer petrol and diesel engines as well – essentially, our customers will have the option full EVs, hybrids or conventionally powered vehicles across each of the line-ups,” he said.
First on the list of EVs destined for South Africa – Jaguar’s sporty I-Pace SUV, the brand’s first all-electric vehicle – is scheduled to roll off the assembly line at a Magna Steyr facility in Austria towards the end of next year or early in 2019.
According to Speth, the vehicle will have a range of 500km – and its system will enable fast charging in about eight minutes to take it a further 100km. Preparation for the derivative’s introduction includes the setting up of a charging infrastructure – which he acknowledges will take time – and service facilities.
“We couldn’t go battery electric tomorrow. For instance here we are in the process of engaging with our dealerships with a view to establishing the infrastructure that will be necessary to support the sale and service of EVs. Also, we have not ruled out the possibility of forming partnerships with other vehicle manufacturers which already have EVs in the market.”
Speth said customer acceptance of the new technology would play a role in determining the rate of uptake. “Different countries will move at different paces – for that reason, I expect internal combustion engines to be around for a long time.”
Asked whether the UK government’s intention to ban petrol and diesel engined vehicles from sale from 2040 was feasible, Speth said that though the target date was more than 20 years away, in terms of automobile development it was “just around the corner.”
“We’ll have to see – I think 2040 looks a little too early to expect everything to change. However, of one thing I am certain – the future of the car is electric and, from that perspective, it is important to make EVs more accessible.”