There’s a mistaken sense that Ineos Automotive is a whim of Britain's second-richest man, Sir Jim Ratcliffe; a pet project to make a car that he wants – the Ineos Grenadier – because nobody else makes a car like that, rather than a serious automotive business. 

“The objective is to be commercially successful as a business and that’s what the Grenadier is doing,” said Ratcliffe, when asked if such a notion bothers him. 

Such perceptions have long since been dismissed as fantasy and the Ineos Automotive story has moved way beyond that. What started as a single model with a very clear purpose – a modern successor to the Land Rover Defender – has turned into a car company that has just revealed its third model line, the Fusilier, bringing in new powertrain and platform technology and an additional factory, too. It is a company that has invested heavily in R&D, facilities and people. 

Ineos has done more than most start-ups simply by getting a car into production and delivered to customers. There have been plenty of wannabes with a good idea, yet Ratcliffe’s admittedly well-financed effort has still got past the biggest hurdle of all. It has been done in a clever way, keeping design in-house, sourcing key components from elsewhere, outsourcing engineering to an expert company and then buying a ready-made factory. 

Perhaps most intriguing about Ineos is its emergence as a serious car company that communicates with a welcome dose of clarity and realism. There are no splinters to be found in anyone’s backside from being on the fence at Ineos. Its chief bugbear at the moment is - in the words of Ratcliffe - “idealistic” backing that the UK and Europe have given to electric cars and “forcing them at the market”. 

Ratcliffe is as quotable as they come and does not fear those who might take exception to his words and dose of realism – a position you can afford when you’re chairman, CEO and founder of the holding company that Ineos Automotive sits within. 

His gripe is that, rather than there being a wider goal of carbon net zero and seeing what blend of technologies emerge to work towards that, battery-electric vehicles are being forced on consumers when they are either not ready or don’t want them, for myriad reasons including charging and cost. 

“You can’t force a solution that the customer rejects,” said Ratcliffe in a lively Q&A at the reveal of the Fusilier at The Grenadier pub he owns in London. (The pub was actually renamed The Fusilier for the day and is famous for being where Ratcliffe came up with the idea for the Grenadier 4x4.)