You’ve got to admire the boldness of JLR’s new electric Jaguar plan, coming as quickly as it does after a series of severe financial reverses, a radical shrinkage of the workforce and the comparative failure of the company to sell Jaguar saloons despite years of big-scale investment.
The plan as outlined, provided it leads to more UK-built electric models than only the new XJ just confirmed, seems to promise good things for the old marque - a foothold in a part of the electric car market where there appears to be profitable demand and a fresh chance for far-reaching co-operation with BMW.
Best of all, it provides an opportunity to build a model range whose low-carbon credentials will allow its Land Rover partner cars - which few potential buyers can yet visualise as pure electric models - to continue for several model cycles as 48V hybrids.
Perhaps best of all for the UK, it shows confidence in the various well-founded UK battery research efforts to improve battery technology, and injects a fresh sense of urgency. And it surely leaves the government with no alternative but to redouble its efforts to help promote advanced electrification.
A year or two ago, Ralf Speth and his team were devoting much time to damning the idea of the UK leaving the EU (and we’ll bet they still don’t love the idea). But they have now clearly moved on to hatching a plan for JLR that can work beyond the split, and which plays superbly to the UK’s strengths.
It is a big gamble, of course, assuming strong customer demand for a range of radical new Jaguars. But the remarkably successful I-Pace already shows the strength of the possibilities.