An all-electric Jaguar SUV will be revealed next year before going on sale in 2017 - and Autocar has learned that some of the most flamboyant styling touches of the C-X75 hypercar concept will be used on the new model as the firm seeks to ensure that it stands apart from rivals.
The car’s mooted launch date puts Jaguar in direct competition with Audi, which is planning to launch the production version of its all-electric Q6 e-tron quattro concept, first revealed at this year’s Frankfurt show, early in 2018. Both vehicles are set to offer a range of around 300 miles and cost about £60,000. However, the Tesla Model X will beat both to market, going on sale in the UK next year.
Beyond the bodystyle, price and target range, few details are known about Jaguar’s first EV. Sources suggest an electric motor will be mounted inboard at each corner, retaining the use of driveshafts, although there remains the possibility of Jaguar making a technology leap with in-wheel motors.
Parent firm Tata has previously pioneered the technology, and insiders say the company has made significant progress with overcoming the problem of the additional unsprung weight of in-wheel motors.
Jaguar hopes to outpunch all rivals, however, by giving the car the most distinctive styling of any EV on the market. It is understood that Tata has given the green light for Jaguar to pioneer the group’s all-electric technology and wants the brand’s first such model to deliver a distinctive statement of its intent to lead in electrification. The styling is said to be revolutionary, in the way that the BMW i brand sits separately from the firm’s mainstream models.
It is reported that this fact played a key role in the decision to allow the C-X75 to be used in the latest Bond film, Spectre. The car, which was built as a concept for the 2010 Paris show, was powered by four electric motors driven by diesel-fed gas turbines and had an electric range of about 30 miles. It was announced that up to 250 production cars would be made, powered by a downsized turbocharged petrol engine.
Although prototypes were made in conjunction with the Williams F1 team, the project was cancelled at the height of the economic downturn in December 2012.
Now, however, the C-X75’s enduring popularity - driven by its appearance in the Bond film - and its original role as a standard bearer for ground-breaking technology are set to be harnessed in the design of the all-electric SUV.
As such, a debut at next year’s Paris show, six years after the C-X75 was first shown, is said to be a distinct possibility. It will be revealed as a concept - and our rendering is highly speculative - but the production version’s styling is said to be nearly identical to the upcoming show car, in line with Jaguar design director Ian Callum’s mantra of only showing concepts that are very close to production reality.
This decision also explains why Jaguar resisted the urge to use the C-X75’s appearance in Spectre to reignite sales plans for the hypercar. The benefits and profitability of selling even 250 C-X75s at around £750,000 each are said to be marginal beyond boosting brand profile, but the launch of Jaguar’s first all-electric vehicle is a crucial step in the firm’s growth.