Jaguar’s big news of 2016 (ignoring other news like F-Pace, Formula E etc) is the company will launch their first ‘electric’ car at the LA Auto Show 2016. Details are scant, to say the least, but following the company’s entrance into Formula E, it makes sense that the big cat enters the world of electrification with their products.
Up until now, Jaguar and electric has been the firm remit of concept cars alone. There’s a long list of hybrids and even a turbine powered electric show car created to explore possible directions where the company could advance. Innovative technology and continuous hints toward electric power have been abundant over the last couple of years in particular. Jaguar has even installed a number of charge points at its facilities to accommodate plug-in vehicles.
Last year Jaguar showcased new technology that purported to make electric cars more efficient and comfortable for the occupants, by using infrared heating within the cabin and a special air cleansing system to make it more efficient. The demonstrator was housed in a Range Rover, but the theory was sound and could save EVs from using precious energy to keep occupants warm.
More recently, Jaguar announced a collaboration between other manufacturers to explore technology that allows cars to ‘talk’ to each other. In addition, Jaguar has been working on connected and autonomous functions, which tend to work best on electric vehicles because of the flexibility of the powertrain. One example includes technology to allow a car to know what speed to travel at to ensure traffic lights are always on green.
Famously, Jaguar’s C-X75 hyper car was originally intended as an electric car, sporting four wheel motors and jet turbines to power them. Radical it might have been, but unfortunately it was emissions that killed the idea of the turbines. Instead, the protoypes that followed were each powered by a slightly more conventional plug-in hybrid system.
So, the writing’s on the wall. Speculation is rife about what exactly Jaguar are up to, with the most popular rumour being they’re working on a SUEV (Sports Utility Electric Vehicle) to take on the likes of Tesla’s Model X. In truth, little is known whether the company will attempt something completely battery powered, hybrid, plug-in hybrid or even all three.
Whatever the case, Jaguar’s entrance into Formula E won’t have been whimsical and instead is a clear indication the company is looking firmly toward electrification for its future models. Sources close to the company have confirmed that Jaguar will reveal their first “electric car” model at the LA Auto Show 2016 with, intriguingly, a live broadcast using VR (Virtual Reality) for those who cannot make it in person.