RE: Prior Convictions: Jaguar's electric project

RE: Prior Convictions: Jaguar's electric project

Sunday 14th October 2018

Prior Convictions: Jaguar's electric project

There's a lot to be said for SVO's idea of a 600hp XE. But Jaguar has far more radical plans on its mind



This week I've been driving a Jaguar XE SV Project 8. It's the first time PH has had a go in it on the road in the UK and it's the first time I've had a go at all. It was ostensibly for a big group feature the other mag I work on it feels like a very compelling piece of kit. Certainly the rawest Jaguar in recent history. It feels more like a Group 44 XJS than it does a regular XE.

It's also a car, as it turns out, that divides opinion a bit like a BMW M4 GTS, which I think is terrific and a lot of other people do not. As with the GTS the Project 8 gets suspension you can adjust should you be prepared to get busy in the wheelarches. And as with the M4 GTS, I quite liked it, although not as much as that BMW.


In a roadgoing setup it ain't ever exactly compliant, but body control is very good and it has that racy, keyed-in feel. The steering's a bit light, lacking feedback, but accurate. And the four-wheel drive system feels fairly rear-biased. The gearshift on the 8-spd auto is curiously sluggish, but all of its attributes the character and response of the 600hp supercharged V8 is the standout feature. By a mile. 'Cor', you think, 'they don't make 'em like this any more'.

And then you read that it's quite possible that might be all-too literal, on account of the fact that Jaguar is considering moving its range to pure electric power. No decision has been taken, but you can see where the thoughts come from: Jaguar's total volume is looking like being 175,000 cars this year and, even with economies of scale allowed by some platform and architecture sharing with Land Rover, that's not a great deal to be getting on with. There's considerably less folly to the £150,000 Project 8 than there was a V8-powered Rover 75, but there is a similar feeling that it doesn't exactly represent what the XE range stands for.

What of Jaguar Land Rover's Special Vehicle Operations, responsible for the Project 8, should things go electric? Presumably they'd still busy themselves fitting massive V8 engines to SUVs, for those who live in wide open areas, like the middle east, the broad landscapes of the US, and South Kensington. But they can't leave it there.


So they'd have to turn their hand to electric cars too. Just as it's possible to tune up internal combustion vehicles, it's possible to do EVs. There's a new Jaguar one-make racing series, the i-Pace e-Trophy, where the i-Pace's power level hasn't been turned up from its 400hp, but the aero is massively revised and there's been a deal of lightweighting.

When it comes to the race car's design diverging to the road car, Jaguar's design studio director Wayne Burgess says that SVO would like to use "as much as we can get away with". And just as there are similar architectures and modular design elements with internal combustion engines, so there are with electric motors, too. The limiting factors are battery energy and weight - the pack on an i-Pace weighs something like 610kg.

And then you get back into a Project 8 and rev it out and think, 'sure, an i-Pace or i-Whatever SVR will be great, I've no doubt'. But not just yet, eh?

Author
Discussion

sidesauce

Original Poster:

895 posts

159 months

Sunday 14th October 2018
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Weirdly I actually think going all electric could be a good idea for Jaguar as I'm pretty sure most of the world don't associate them with racing, more with stately, serene progress. This is something I also hope Rolls Royce would consider doing, at least as a separate model/powertrain option if not a total replacement to existing tech straight away.

Hopefully the switch from ICE would also help their, er, unfortunate reputation on reliability too...?

ChocolateFrog

4,497 posts

114 months

Sunday 14th October 2018
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Well that was virtually unreadable, again.


tr3a

213 posts

168 months

Sunday 14th October 2018
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Tesla has been outselling Jaguar (and even M-B) in the US. They'll be doing it profitably before too long, too.

It seems Jaguar has come to the conclusion that soon, their ICE cars have no chance of competing with EV's. This is a classic case of "If you can't beat them...".

amstrange1

477 posts

117 months

Sunday 14th October 2018
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Does anyone bother proof-reading this stuff?

TooMany2cvs

29,008 posts

67 months

Sunday 14th October 2018
quotequote all
tr3a said:
Tesla has been outselling Jaguar (and even M-B) in the US.
Jaguar, yes - but Jag only shift 40k cars in the US in a good year.
http://carsalesbase.com/us-car-sales-data/jaguar/

Tesla shifted 50k last year - and just over that in the last two months alone, because the Model 3 is finally starting to come off the lines.
http://carsalesbase.com/us-car-sales-data/tesla/
If they can keep that rate up, that's 300k cars/year.

Merc shift 370k cars/year in the US, though, year-in-year-out, and a couple of thousand more than Tesla in the last two months.
http://carsalesbase.com/us-car-sales-data/mercedes...

tr3a said:
They'll be doing it profitably before too long, too.
I won't hold my breath on that. They keep breaking their own quarterly records for losses, and are in the region of a billion and a half down on the first half of this year alone. Q3 results any day now.
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Max_Torque

13,470 posts

158 months

Sunday 14th October 2018
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Thing is, despite JLR making quite a few "sporty" models now, i've never seen a jag being driven fast? Literally never! You do see the odd 911 and M3 getting a pasting, but a Jag? And same with the SVR Rangies, i mean, they are fast cars (in a straight line) but i've never seen one of those getting it either, no, they tend to be driven at 45mph everywhere by yummymummies with the kids in the back /massivegeneralisationbutonethatstrue


So, yes, JLR could go electric imo, even for their 4x4 line!

Deepsixed

13 posts

14 months

Sunday 14th October 2018
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amstrange1 said:
Does anyone bother proof-reading this stuff?
Clearly not.

sidesauce

Original Poster:

895 posts

159 months

Sunday 14th October 2018
quotequote all
Max_Torque said:
with the SVR Rangies, i mean, they are fast cars (in a straight line) but i've never seen one of those getting it either, no, they tend to be driven at 45mph everywhere by yummymummies with the kids in the back
If you lived around my way, you'd definitely see them being given a good ragging alright - but you'd actually hear them first... yum

DonkeyApple

33,218 posts

110 months

Sunday 14th October 2018
quotequote all
Max_Torque said:
Thing is, despite JLR making quite a few "sporty" models now, i've never seen a jag being driven fast? Literally never! You do see the odd 911 and M3 getting a pasting, but a Jag? And same with the SVR Rangies, i mean, they are fast cars (in a straight line) but i've never seen one of those getting it either, no, they tend to be driven at 45mph everywhere by yummymummies with the kids in the back /massivegeneralisationbutonethatstrue


So, yes, JLR could go electric imo, even for their 4x4 line!
Statistics as much as anything. If the SUV is the family car then 5/6 days a week it’s going to be driven by the wife on family duties and only gets driven by the person who wanted the performance version over the basic minicab edition every so often.

Chaps don’t typically buy an M3 or 911 for the wife to use during the week on domestic chores but for their sole use.

My wife would like an SUV as her next car, which makes perfect sense. I will purchase a performance model so that I can enjoy it when I drive it but that would maybe be once or twice/month.

What we are probably seeing is that SUVs tend to be shared family cars carrying out a multiple of roles whereas the more dedicated performance cars less so.


oilit

703 posts

119 months

Sunday 14th October 2018
quotequote all
Jaguar should be all electric, and should put the electric motor with bonkers mode in this body - the rear looks great (the front bumper with DIY home drilled vents looks shocking)
I think the future (whether we like it or not) is smaller (Golf sized) cars with good/better/best performance options and styling from electric motors.

Richie C

487 posts

147 months

Sunday 14th October 2018
quotequote all
article said:
It was ostensibly for a big group feature the other mag I work on it feels like a very compelling piece of kit.
Two professional writing jobs? Wow.

Gandahar

6,390 posts

69 months

Sunday 14th October 2018
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I get the feeling Matt Prior has been influenced by a certain other scribee for too long with initials NC.

Can somebody round up Richard Meaden, Jethro Bovingdon, Henry Catchpole, John Barker and David Vivian from their current moto-journo Outer Limits limbo and stick them in PH please to compliment the good writers there currently?

That would give PH good words and pictures. At this rate Matt Watson on CarWow will be the new Ljk Setright. coffee


In hindsight I think Harry Metcalfe needs to buy PH as a follow up for helping starting EVO.......



Edited by Gandahar on Sunday 14th October 13:51

NJJ

158 posts

21 months

Sunday 14th October 2018
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I think this makes total sense for Jaguar as they seem a little lost at the moment. The XE and XF are embarrassingly average, remember when the XF first gen came out? People actually wanted to buy a Jaguar again, then came XJ, which at least got people talking and then F-Type. They were on a roll back then but follow up models have lost that magic and what happened to Jaguar interiors?! They always used to look good and now they don't look good and bar the XJ and F-Type look cheap too. Engine choice is hardly exciting either.

Jaguar needs to be daring again, recover its mojo and if going electric helps with that then I'm all for it. But for goodness sake, make the Brand desirable again! In the future, people will remember Jaguar's greatest modern hits as XJR, F-Type, XK, even old XFR, Project 7/8. No one will recall F-Pace, E-Pace, XE or XF. The crossovers may be selling but they are hardly lusted after, Jaguar would do well to remember the former. Make cars that sell yes, but ensure you have halo cars in the range too.

unsprung

2,704 posts

65 months

Sunday 14th October 2018
quotequote all
NJJ said:
Jaguar needs to be daring again, recover its mojo
if so, then surely one point of leadership can be design

more distinction and seduction, less egg shape

not that there have been no good designs of late, but the Jaguar back catalog includes some iconic motors




9k rpm

119 posts

151 months

Sunday 14th October 2018
quotequote all
ChocolateFrog said:
Well that was virtually unreadable, again.
I’m glad it wasn’t just me!
The topic could have been interesting but ended up like the ramblings of a madman.

jhayward1980

56 posts

155 months

Sunday 14th October 2018
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Gave up reading. Was the gist - jaguar make some fast ICE cars but might go electric instead?

Edited by jhayward1980 on Sunday 14th October 17:46


Edited by jhayward1980 on Sunday 14th October 19:19

stuart-b

3,603 posts

167 months

Sunday 14th October 2018
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Listening to Joe Rogan's podcast, while he is high, is easier to follow than reading this article.

I test drove an E-Pace the other week. Totally uninteresting and forgettable, and I said that when I handed the key back, in response to "How was it?"

The interior quality, the weight; clearly an evoque in a new frock and it felt like 2010 era tech.

samoht

901 posts

87 months

Sunday 14th October 2018
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The Autocar article is more helpful IMHO.

Basically, Jaguar is a failing business. Sales of the core saloons (XE/XF/XJ) aren't enough to keep the factory running more than three days a week, let alone generate the investment to replace them. The F-Pace isn't even holding up that well, and the E-Pace isn't that profitable. The only bright spot is the electric I-Pace, although that's also not so profitable.

So, they're at a crossroads; a new direction is needed. An all-electric approach is attractive; it probably means less investment than a new range of combustion engines, and Tesla has shown you can construct a range of models at different price points with minimal mechanical differentiation, just different battery capacities. They already have an electric drivetrain in the I-Pace, which could adapt to a range of vehicles.

To me it's a risky strategy. It's uncertain how electric cars will take off over the next 5-10 years, and how the charging infrastructure will co-evolve to support their uptake. If there's a rash of stories of Jaguar buyers spending an hour in a queue, not for the Dartford Crossing but for a charger; if people are getting stranded because of chargers failing, then buyers could turn against them.

Even assuming (as I do) that electric cars will break out, the future competitive landscape is uncertain. Kia and Hyundai have £30k, 300-mile electric cars launching now. VW group are throwing their considerable engineering capabilities full-tilt into electric cars, with the intensity of a reformed sinner. Tesla have established themselves as the electric car company, and have the Model 3 rolling out. Any projections Jaguar make of selling 300k electric cars a year are even more of a finger in the air than such numbers ordinarily are, in a volatile and changing market.

Meanwhile, mega-companies like VW will engineer models with a full range of petrol, diesel, hybrid and electric drivetrains, which is clearly a safer approach. But as a smaller player with less money, it's arguable that it makes sense for Jag to bet fully on a single approach and hope for the best.


TooMany2cvs

29,008 posts

67 months

Sunday 14th October 2018
quotequote all
samoht said:
Basically, Jaguar is a failing business. Sales of the core saloons (XE/XF/XJ) aren't enough to keep the factory running more than three days a week, let alone generate the investment to replace them.
Jaguar isn't a business.
Jaguar is a brand of Jaguar Land Rover.

Jaguar Land Rover is doing OK. Their 2017 full year profits were £1.5bn (a slight drop on the previous year), on revenue of £26bn (up on the previous year)

DonkeyApple

33,218 posts

110 months

Sunday 14th October 2018
quotequote all
Trouble is that JLR treat the two brands separately and want them both to be profit centres. Jaguar has always struggled. They’ve tried a new range of Diesel engines and got caught by dieselgate and they tried the XE but can’t offer cheap enough finance to shift them in the required numbers. The idea of going all electric as a means to try and shift the brand image very strongly to the new demographic which has really ignored the brand to date doesn’t seem like a silly idea.

The business is not working as it is and EVs are deemed to be the way we are to be heading so is it madness to give the brand one last roll of the dice by hurling it into the new world. Eapeciallys as such a model would compliment the LR side which is going to be mostly hybrid.

If it’s the best way to keep the marque going in the 21sr century then it gets my vote.
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