Jaguar’s I-Pace and electric race series aims to leave ‘boring’ for dust
JAGUAR Land Rover is aiming to shake off the “boring” image of electric cars by launching a race series using its battery-powered I-Pace.
Ralf Speth, chief executive of the UK’s biggest car company, said that from 2020 all the marque’s new cars would offer an electric option.
In an effort to promote the technology, he revealed plans for a singlemake race series using the I-Pace, the company’s first electric car, which will support the Formula E championship – the electric equivalent of Formula 1.
“Future mobility will not be boring,” said Mr Speth. “Technology we are developing on the track allows us to deliver thrilling electric vehicles to customers.”
The eTrophy series is expected to run alongside the 2018 Formula E race series, the chief executive said as he updated on JLR’s performance as the Frankfurt motor show kicked off. In the year to date, JLR’s sales of cars were up 8pc on the same point in 2016, at 401,565 vehicles, with the F-Pace, the first SUV in Jaguar’s stable, leading the rise as sales of it doubled.
Mr Speth used an event last week to warn that the switch to the new power source had the potential to cause geopolitical shifts as the motor industry reduces its dependence on oil.
He predicted that self-driving and electric technology would cause huge social change, wiping out jobs and putting “the national budget of oil-producing nations under considerable threat, straining social barriers”.
Electrification of cars was the major theme of the Frankfurt show, Europe’s biggest automotive industry event. Volkswagen Group, the world’s largest car maker which was engulfed by the “dieselgate” scandal, said it would invest €20bn (£18bn) by 2030 on electric vehicles, with a further €50bn earmarked to buy batteries for them, and pledged all 300 cars in its range would come with an electric option by then.
Harald Krüger, the BMW boss, revealed the company’s iVision Dynamics coupe – which it hopes will compete against Tesla – adding that he is convinced electric cars “are the future of sustainable mobility; it is not just hype but the long-term trend”. He also warned of the risks of a failure to achieve a Brexit deal. “We clearly need free trade – and BMW is an ambassador of free trade – between European countries to be competitive,” he said.
Dieter Zetsche, boss of Mercedes owner Daimler, said he “regretted” that motorists had “lost trust” in diesel, arguing it was an important part of a greener world.
The company has invested €3bn in future diesel technology which it says has emission levels low enough to silence its critics.
Away from the environmental debate, Mercedes also displayed its 1,000 horsepower AMG Project One hypercar, powered by a turbo-charged conventional engine and four electric motors, capable of driving it to almost 220mph.
The company now plans to produce 275 of these £3.25m hypercars.
The show did not bring any further clarity on what Peugeot plans for the Vauxhall and Opel marques, after the French car maker purchased them from GM in November for €2.2bn.
Jaguar unveiled its electric I-Pace concept car at the 2017 Frankfurt motor show. Ralf Speth, the company’s chief executive, said that from 2020 all of its new models would offer an electric option