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".
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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.
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.
One of the technical highlights for the J-Pace, which will sit above the E-Pace and 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.
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.