Jaguar has confirmed that an all-electric XJ will be produced at its Castle Bromwich facility from 2020, kicking-off a period of increasing electrification for its line-up and safeguarding "thousands of UK jobs". The new XJ EV will be developed by the same team that created the I-Pace, while production of its batteries and drive unit will be kept in house at a new Battery Assembly Centre to be located locally in Hams Hall. The 2020 site will be capable of 150,000 units per year, suggesting it will supply both XJ and I-Pace, as well as following EV models - reducing Jaguar's reliance on external suppliers for its EV ambitions.
The new XJ will be based upon a new Modular Longitudinal Architecture (MLA) to be designed and engineered in-house, with flexibility built in to enable the integration of diesel and petrol powerplants, meaning MLA will underpin a range of future models of differing specifications. It seems highly likely that the XJ's electric powertrain will have a technical relation to the I-Pace's 400hp 90kWh setup, but with the natural advances in performance and range that a model two years newer would have. Plus, as Jag's flagship, it'll need the power and performance to go with that accolade.
The switch to electric power does, of course, mean the end of the line for brutish saloons like the XJR 575, which is a shame - even if they only ever represented miniscule percentage of sales for a model that barely edged into four figure production last year. But, as it did with the I-Pace, expect JLR to focus on ensuring the new electric car offers Jag-like handling. Indeed, it'll have a natural advantage over its EV sibling with a lower centre of gravity and likely extra power. But a throaty eight cylinder within its belly? Sadly not.
Still, an aggressive switch to electric power ahead of its main rivals looks like the best way for Jag to turn its fortunes around; don't forget, only a few months ago JLR had to lay of 4,500 of its staff amid shrinking sales for diesel cars. Readying the company for a switch to electric power seems smart, but here's hoping a better financial future will leave room for a few more traditional models amongst the Jag line-up...