If you want to fly the Union Jack and make sure that you buy British when you look for a new EV, you'll surely want to consider Jaguar. After all, this company has been at the forefront of automotive manufacturing for 80 years and has a huge facility in the English Midlands. Yet what options does this company suggest when it comes to buying electric cars in the UK, and how do company bosses view the future in terms of alternative propulsion?
Commitment to Electrification
Like many topline car manufacturers, Jaguar Land Rover is committed to the future of electrification. Company bosses say that they will electrify each model in the range as soon as possible, as they move forward to a more sustainable future.
Even though an Indian conglomerate now owns the company, senior executives at JLR remain fiercely patriotic. As such, they were quick to confirm that they would build all of their new electrified vehicles in England at the Castle Bromwich plant. They also intend to open a new battery assembly factory and will make their electronic drive units at a separate facility, all in the Midlands.
Jaguar's All-Electric Car in the UK - the XJ
Jaguar also announced that its first project would develop an all electric version of the renowned XJ. This car would then sit alongside their premium electric SUV, the I-PACE.
In the meantime, while company bosses will invest a lot of money in developing their battery assembly centre, they've also called on the UK government for help. JLR feels that central government investment is necessary if a much-needed giga-scale battery production facility is to materialise. This plant will help develop batteries that are lighter, cheaper and more powerful than the current crop.
Yet the pandemic has put the brakes on all of this development to an extent. In July 2020, Jaguar announced a delay to warn consumers that the all electric XJ would now debut in the spring of 2021 instead. The company maintains that this is part of a cutback on "non-essential spending," while focusing on current profitable models. Nevertheless, executives remain firmly committed to electrification.
So what will the new electric XJ be like?
XJ on the Road
This new car will go up against stiff competition from Mercedes and Tesla, even though the category is still emerging. The former company plans to bring out a range-topping electric limo in the S-Class, called the EQS. Meanwhile, Tesla has been at this race for some time now. The California company already markets the Model S effectively in the UK.
In terms of style, expect the XJ to have the familiar "Jaguar" look and be a traditional saloon based on the existing MLA platform. Designers will fit as many as four electric motors and an underfloor battery pack, with two-wheel and four-wheel-drive options available. To date, very little is known about the actual specification, however, and Jaguar have been tightlipped since announcing the delay.
Existing Electric Cars for Sale in the UK - the I-PACE SUV
If you can't wait for the electric XJ, you may be tempted by the company's SUV instead. This model has been really popular since its introduction and is a sleek, progressive entry into the luxury SUV market. In this respect, it goes up against Tesla again with its Model X, or Mercedes with the EQC 400. BMW enters the fray with its iX3 too, and Audi has the e-tron Quattro.
Underneath, Jaguar has fitted two electric motors to generate almost 400 hp, and four-wheel-drive to propel the I-PACE. Performance-wise, it's one of the best electric cars in its UK class and has a definite advantage when it comes to all-important range. With a 90 kWh battery installed, JLR claims almost 300 miles from a single charge.
Consumers can choose between passive or hydraulic suspension. An onboard switch can control set up and convert the I-PACE into a dynamic mode for those twisty back roads. Generally, it handles very well in most situations even though it's very heavy. The batteries are placed under the floor to help with weight distribution.
Inside, seats are very supportive and come with some degree of electric adjustment, varying by model. The controls are well placed, and you can access through touch-sensitive information screens. It's fitted with an all-round camera, satnav capability, Apple and Android accessibility.
Now for space. Here, JLR scores very well and there is also a wealth of onboard storage. Seats can fold into a lie-flat position, but this is a five-seater, and there is no seven-seat option for those bigger groups. Even so, there is a large boot space at the rear and another option under the bonnet for a smaller item.
You will get an unlimited mileage warranty for three years when you take ownership, while they'll cover the battery for an additional five.
Waiting for the J-PACE
Or, if you wait a bit longer, you can take delivery of an all-new J-PACE in the large SUV sector. This vehicle will go directly against the Model X from Tesla, and JLR will also manufacture it at the Castle Bromwich factory.
Tightlipped executives haven't said much about the project yet but will probably build it on the same MLA platform as the all electric XJ. You will probably find a four-wheel-drive option in the range and a price that should compete with the Model X.
Expect some more announcements through 2021 with further details. This will give you a theoretical launch date if you want to own one of the best electric vehicles in the UK when it arrives.
Jaguar Land Rover is undoubtedly committed to expanding its range of electric cars in the UK. If you're looking for something homegrown, the Castle Bromwich company is definitely worth a look.