Jaguar Land Rover’s struggles in China have been a key factor in the company’s recent financial woes, and improving its performance in the country is a key part of the turnaround strategy.
With the Chinese government heavily pushing fully electric cars, both the forthcoming electric XJ and Range Rover crossover will be vital to the firm’s renewed push in the country.
Although Jaguar Land Rover bosses continue to remain tight-lipped on the existence of the EV crossover, company chief Ralf Speth has repeatedly stated the firm’s goal to achieve net zero emissions.
He has hinted at new models in the range, recently saying to reporters: “We will launch things to expand the product portfolio. We won’t stand still. So you can expect these [new models] as you can also expect updates of our existing cars.”
The firm only recently confirmed it was developing the next-generation Jaguar XJ as an electric car, as first revealed by Autocar in 2015, with the model set to be built at the firm’s Castle Bromwich plant.
The XJ will be built on the EV version of JLR’s new flexible Modular Longitudinal Platform (MLA) and will use JLR-built motors and batteries – possibly using electric motors codeveloped with BMW as part of a recent tie-up between the two car makers to collaborate on electric powertrain technology.
It is expected that the new crossover will be twinned with the new XJ for production purposes, echoing the Range Rover Velar and Jaguar F-Pace SUVs.
The two new models will share much of their underpinnings, albeit heavily revised for each brand’s target audience.
The electric variant of the firm’s new MLA platform uses the now customary ‘skateboard’ design with underfloor batteries and the option of two motors mounted on each axle.
This will ensure electric Land Rover models can offer all-wheel drive, which is considered vital in order to reflect the firm’s heritage and authentic off-road performance.
The instant torque offered by an electric powertrain will also be a major boost to those venturing away from the road in EVs.
According to information given in an investor’s presentation earlier this year, in EV form the MLA platform is designed to house batteries up to 90.2kWh in size, offering around 290 miles of real-world range.
Land Rover will seek to maximise that range by optimising the new model’s aerodynamic efficiency, hence the decision to pursue a lower, crossover-style machine.