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Jaguar’s I-Pace and elec­tric race se­ries aims to leave ‘bor­ing’ for dust

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Front Page - By Alan Tovey

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

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