Currently reading: Jaguar J-Pace: design boss discusses 2021 flagship SUV
Ian Callum goes on record for the first time about electrified Audi Q7 rival, and drops hints about Jaguar's EV future

Jaguar design boss Ian Callum has spoken out for the first time about the long-mooted J-Pace flagship SUV, and admits the next XJ could be all-electric.

In an interview published in The Sun newspaper's motoring pages, the long-standing head of design claimed that it was "worth looking at" following up the Jaguar E-Pace and Jaguar F-Pace with a larger, more luxurious SUV. 

A day with Jaguar's design director Ian Callum

"We can't become obsessed with it [making SUVs]. We are still a car company. We have a sister that specialises in SUVs. But in terms of sales opportunity, it would be a good idea to do another one". 

When asked about Jaguar's next move, Callum confirmed it would be the new XJ, due later this year. He claimed the British firm is "looking at it in a rather individual way".

Ian callum day in the0life off 2393

Asked if that meant it could be all-electric, Callum said: "it could be. I think it is important Jaguar latches on to the idea now that we're an electric car company - because one day everyone will be, so let's just get on with it." 

With the J-Pace reportedly sharing its platform with the XJ, that would mean an EV J-Pace is a probability. "Potentially," said Callum. "That's my view. We should just go for it".

Jaguar's three-pronged SUV attack to bring much-needed sales revival

The upcoming J-Pace flagship SUV will be one of the first electrified models built on an all-new Jaguar Land Rover platform – and sources have previously suggested an electric version is on the cards. 

The J-Pace is thought to be just over two years from launch and will arrive at around the same time as the fifth-generation Range Rover, which will also be built on the firm’s MLA platform. The J-Pace is one of three new ‘mid-height’ Jaguar Land Rover models that will be based around electrified powertrains. 


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The MLA platform, which will underpin all JLR vehicles by 2025, will be all-aluminium and is expected to be noticeably lighter than the current D7 and D8 architectures. 

Line up 2

One of the technical highlights for the J-Pace, which will sit above the Jaguar E-Pace and Jaguar F-Pace in Jaguar’s SUV line-up, will be its electric motor-driven rear wheels. As with all of the MLA-based plug-in hybrids, conventional mechanical all-wheel drive is being dropped. 

Using an electric motor on the back axle provides a number of advantages. Dropping the mechanical connection to the back wheels, including the propshaft and power take-off unit, allows more room for the battery pack and improves space inside the cabin, eliminating the traditional centre tunnel. 

The electric axle should also make for a significant improvement in handling and during off-road work. The speed and precise, controllable nature of the electric motor’s power delivery should improve on-road handling, especially on corners and poor surfaces, as well as providing fine control of the torque being fed to the rear wheels when driving off-road. 

Little has so far emerged about the features offered by the MLA architecture, but it is thought that will change towards the end of this year as new products get closer to launch. 

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The J-Pace is set to come as a plug-in hybrid as standard, with a turbocharged version of the recently announced Ingenium straight-six engine expected to be the mainstream powertrain. Whether JLR engineers think the new MLA platform will allow a refined installation of the Ingenium four-cylinder engine remains unclear, but a high-powered four-cylinder motor may be offered on the J-Pace for a version biased towards outstanding economy.

There’s no official news on the electric-only range of the J-Pace plug-in hybrid, but 50 miles in favourable conditions will be the minimum target. As JLR outlined last year in an investor presentation, it believes new car buyers remain sceptical about pure-battery vehicles, so providing a battery that allows emission-free driving for shorter city journeys could be the best compromise. 

Jag final 0

Jaguar Land Rover predicts that just 20% of new car sales will be of pure EVs by 2025, which is why the ability of the MLA platform to be used with conventional petrol/ diesel, plug-in and pure EV powertrains is essential to safeguarding the company’s future. However, predicting the degree by which the market will swing towards electrification is currently eluding nearly everyone in the auto industry. 

Jaguar tends not to preview new models with concept cars and has given little away about the J-Pace’s styling. It is, however, likely to build on the distinctive look of the electric Jaguar I-Pace, which has provided a much-need fresh direction for the Jaguar aesthetic. 

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Like the recently facelifted Jaguar XE, the J-Pace’s interior will feature OLED screens intended to raise the perceived quality of the cabin in order to rival those of flagship German crossovers. 

The J-Pace is expected to be around 4.9 metres long, and its flat floor should help it to deliver impressive interior space with a healthy boot volume of at least 650 litres. However, the J-Pace’s expected lower roofline means that it won’t be as airy as its Range Rover sister. 

As Audi engineers have previously explained with the design of the Audi E-tron SUV, a great deal of attention needs to be paid to minimising an EV’s frontal area and reducing overall drag in order to maximise its battery range. 

Like all car makers, Jaguar Land Rover will have to significantly reduce its fleet-average fuel consumption and emissions figures over the next decade, as a result of increasingly tough EU targets between now and 2030. 

According to the investor’s presentation, the new mid-height model line-up will consist of two Jaguars and one Range Rover. It’s thought that the Range Rover model will be the new ‘Road Rover’ and that the other is likely to be a Jaguar road car – most probably a pure EV replacement for the ageing Jaguar XJ limousine, as previously uncovered by Autocar. 

Jag render final 002

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Last year’s presentation also suggested that four SUVs – Range Rover, Range Rover Sport, new Defender and Discovery Mk6 – will be built using the ‘high-rise’ version of the platform. There will be seven models based on the ‘low-rise’ MLA, potentially including the next F-Pace and Velar, as well as the Discovery Sport and Evoque and – possibly – two Jaguar saloons.

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Hughbl 12 April 2019

I agree TStag

Yes, sports saloons are more efficient and more fun to drive, but if the public are infatuated with SUVs, give them SUVs. There's no point trying to swim against the tide. 

kboothby 12 April 2019


That's why Porsche/Bentley/RR/Lambo and uncle Tom Cobbley and all are building SUVs... 

It's what the customer wants, take no notice of the "purists" on here. They can be catergorised as 

1. Those who own a "classic" that needs its nipples greasing every 500 miles

2. Sad individuals who lust after a 2CV, are nominally vegan but would kill for a bacon sandwich

3. Jealous 

4. Blather on as if their opinion counts, the kind of person who bemoans the loss of the local corner shop, despite the fact that they have never shopped there and prefer the experience of Waitrose(the "thinking" mans C0-OP). I reckon most of them are Jezzer Corbyn with multiple accounts

5. Nobheads 


BREXIT - It's all your fault, NO. Really. It is.


Hughbl 14 April 2019

There's also category #6

Former JLR employes who were let go for being witless and now spend their time trying to sound "strategic". 

rhwilton 12 April 2019

"Jaguar tends not to preview new models with concept cars"

The first XF was previewed with a concept car, to test the water with post-1960's styling. The F-Pace was too, to test the SUV water. How many concept cars are you waiting for?