Jaguar is poised to launch the world’s first electric-drive luxury saloon, a version of the next-gen XJ, after the European Union last week agreed a loan for new green technology.
The breakthrough Jag XJ four-door will use similar tech to the Vauxhall Ampera/Chevy Volt. Those cars run on electric power from batteries that are charged mainly by hooking up to the grid, but are also capable of being recharged on the move by a small-capacity engine.
Jaguar’s goals for the ‘Limo Green’ are an electric range of 30 miles, fuel economy of 57mpg, CO2 emissions of less than 120g/km and a top speed of 112mph. The firm has committed to start production in 2011, a year after the next-generation XJ is launched.
Jaguar’s alloy body technology should ensure a low kerb weight and the electric XJ’s powertrain is being developed in conjunction with British engineering brains at Lotus Engineering, MIRA and Caparo.
The £307 million loan cleared last week by the European Investment Bank will boost JLR’s green investments to £800m as it bids to cut overall emissions by 25 per cent by 2012.
Cash will also be sunk into developing full hybrids, micro-hybrids, small-capacity diesel engines and ‘soft-turbocharged’ petrol engines.
A new mini-Range Rover hybrid based on the LRX concept and powered by a 2.0-litre diesel is also planned.
Land Rover also has a ‘mild hybrid’ Range Rover Sport in development, with a super-capacitor for short-term electricity storage and a starter-generator that reclaims energy during engine braking.
JLR has also pledged to look at more extensive use of lightweight materials such as aluminium across the range.
Land Rover is set to make the next Range Rover and Sport with alloy bodyshells, and the new XE two-seat sports car is pencilled in as a variant of the next-generation alloy XK.
It is also anticipated that Jag will reconsider making the XF replacement in alloy, once the plan with the current model.
Another possibility is to ‘dress’ steel cars like the next-gen XF in alloy body panels. Doing so could shave around 100kg off the kerb weight.