Electric vehicles offer an opportunity to completely repackage car interiors, says Ian Callum, as Jaguar is poised to launch its EV range in 2017

Electric powertrains offer designers the chance to “reinvent the car”, according to Jaguar’s head of design Ian Callum.

Although Callum wouldn’t comment directly on Jaguar’s mooted range of electric cars, which is expected to be previewed with a first concept car in 2017, with sales potentially starting later that year, he said: “My personal view is that electric cars are a new start. Car design will change more in the next 15 years than it has in the past 100 - electrification will kickstart the biggest change in automotive design in history.

The Jaguar I-Pace has been revealed, take a look here

“The opportunities an electric powertrain offers are huge, especially in terms of the space for occupants. By removing so much of the mechanical hardware and placing the batteries in the floorplan you open up all sorts of possibilities with packaging. The question is whether you make the cars smaller, but with the same interior space, or keep the cars the same size and offer more space - or perhaps both.”

Callum insisted the opportunities presented by electrification far outweigh the drawbacks, saying: “It offers designers and stylists a much greater freedom. It is an opportunity we must embrace, because we have choice as an industry to either be considered part of the problem of global warming or to be part of the solution.

“I’m clear in my mind that an electric Jaguar would be suitable for the brand. You have to move with the times and design for the opportunities. Look at the C-X75 concept - that was a car that was designed for an alternative powertrain, and nobody had any complaints about how that looked. It just so happened we later fitted a conventional powertrain in the car - but it was designed entirely around an electrified hybrid powertrain”

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Jaguar XF

The second-gen Jaguar XF excels, especially with its class-leading dynamics, but does it have enough in reserve to keep the new BMW 5 Series at bay?


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Unconfirmed reports suggest that Jaguar will kick-start its all-electric car family early in 2018, with a radical take on modern SUV design, with the car launching as a rival to the all-electric Audi Q6 e-tron quattro concept, first revealed at last year’s Frankfurt show. Both vehicles are set to offer a range of around 300 miles and cost about £60,000, with the Jaguar expected to blend the appeal of C-X75 with a package that seats four in comfort. However, the Tesla Model X is expected to beat both to market, with the firm saying it will go on sale in the UK this year.

In preparation for its electric road car programme Jaguar is entering next season’s Formula E electric car racing championship, with testing scheduled to begin in August. It has also patented the EV-Type name, although insiders say this is to protect the name, rather than a definite indication it will be used.

Join the debate


5 April 2016
Blimey the way he’s talking you’d think he’d invented the commercial electric car. They’re playing a catch-up game and are only now jumping on a band wagon they should've already been on, with at least a proper running prototype’s doing the shows.

5 April 2016
How many times have we heard a car designer promise that EV's are an "opportunity to completely repackage car interiors". Yet all EV's so far - including Tesla, Renault/Nissan and others - offer the same-old looks and packaging as ICE cars. When will one of these manufacturers actually be brave enough to follow on their promise?


5 April 2016
....its all about acceptance twingo. Buyers just wont accept radical body styles and alternative drive trains all in one go...at least, not in the sort of numbers which make a viable product.
The push back on the i3 BMW design is an example....some like it because it is considered by them to be funky or cute....the majority just think it looks crap. Its very dangerous territory to single out alternative powered cars to look weird before buyers have totally bought into the concept of EV.
Audi launched the A2 remember back in 1999 .....it didn't achieve the acceptance it probably deserved....it was too 'different' and not sexy at all.
This is one of the reasons the major manufacturers have taken so long to 'join the EV party', they have heritage to deal with and the worry of alienating their existing customer base....Tesla doesn't have this baggage so can go straight to market , with a lot less product testing knowing that Tesla buyers will probably forgive them quality control issues Audi/BMW/M-B buyers wouldn't be so forgiving. So the route to market will necessarily be long.

Personally the aural quality of a car is very important to me....so a silent car fills me with boredom not excitement....this is baggage coming from a generation where such things are important.....equally I cant stand the proposed shapes of autonomous boxes to transport ourselves in....I like design and style NOT functionality...its important to me.
Maybe when the younger generation grows up and my generation are dead or no longer driving these things will no longer be important, but for the time being Manufacturers are caught between to stones, not helped by my generation having the most disposable income to actually purchase their expensive motor cars!

5 April 2016
The issue with re-designing the car completely is the risk of scaring customers, who are on the whole, a conservative, stuck in the rut bunch. Car companies know this and are going to be treading carefully, hence why the likes of Renualt, Telsa, etc, have only produced conventionally styled EV's (well, except the Twizzy).

A complete change in design is going to take a few generations to come about no matter what Ian Callum says.

5 April 2016
Surely the potential of autonomous cars will be bigger than EV. When we go full autonomous I want to be able to sit, sleep, watch entertainment, exercise and eat. Mmm maybe even a toilet for those solo journeys. There are still four common factors ICE and EV cars are bound by a human driver, aerodynamics, wheels and luggage. This explains why a car will still look like a car for a while, at least until we no longer need a human driver.

5 April 2016
Whilst they don't look that different (OK the i3 does to some degree) both of these cars show the sort of interior packaging difference that can be achieved with pure EVs.

The Tesla has wonderful storage space, with the option of the jump seat in the back. It is a big car but short of an E class estate the luggage space is enormous.

The i3 is a bit longer than a fiesta and a bit shorter than a focus. However, inside, at least for the passengers there is decent space. BMW say it's similar to the much bigger 3 series.

So if we look at the two approaches the Tesla has focussed on being more spacious for the same size whereas the BMW has focussed on being smaller for the internal size.

5 April 2016
The i3 may be a "a bit longer than a fiesta and a bit shorter than a focus" but it only has two seats in the back. As did the Volt.

If the likes of the i3 are to address 'short urban trips' then I'm guessing that a very, very healthy chunk of these are school runs - in which you can't use the i3 to, a) take your three+ children to school, b) take your two children plus the neighbors children on an 'school run share' program, or c) bring back your son/daughters friend for a play date.

Okay, there's the front seat but you get the point I'm trying to make.

Elon Musk must have children as the 'S' has three proper seats in the back + the option of two jump seats in the boot AND the '3' is also billed as supporting three adults in the back (as opposed to the rear 2.5 seats in most cars).

If you think this is all a petty analysis of car accommodation then ask around - I know a number of families that have discounted cars based on seating (BMW 2 Series - check out the rear, what a laugh - this is a zillion miles away from a 'family' car).

This includes myself where, and I kid you not, the X5 I recently bought 'scored highly' over options because it does not have an intrusive transmission tunnel on the second row (three kids here...).

I'd love to be able to buy with 'all heart' sadly as a family man most of the chose is practical.

5 April 2016
Also the Model 3 will have a boot in the front and the back, how many cars in that class can boast that.

5 April 2016
They should do an electric, AWD XKSS, that would grab attention.

5 April 2016
another johnny come lately


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