Volvo wanted to bring the sometimes terrifying concept of an electric car out of the shadows and into the mainstream, so it promised fully electric versions of new models launched after 2019. These vehicles will supplement the brand’s hybrid and mild-hybrid offerings.
No longer will the electric car be a standalone model (or model line) with unfamiliar, oddball styling. Mercedes-Benz and BMW agree with this approach, to some degree. Others, like Volkswagen, do not.
Now, Jaguar Land Rover’s joined the fray. The British automaker just announced plans to boost investment by 26 percent over the next three years — an extra $18 billion — to create EV versions of its existing vehicles. That doesn’t mean you’ll get the clean, green vehicle of your dreams, though.
In a presentation, the automaker said the declining popularity of diesel-powered vehicles in Europe forced its hand. Before this, JLR only planned to offer electrified variants in the near future — hybrids, in other words, with Jaguar’s I-Pace SUV serving as the sole EV for now.
Pressure from European lawmakers and competition from its rivals led to a change of plans. JLR’s Euro lineup remains very reliant on diesel powerplants, a once-dominant engine type quickly fading from the landscape as higher taxes and a growing list of driving bans sends high-end car shoppers in search of alternatives.
As a result, first-quarter sales and revenue “did not grow as much as we planned,” the automaker stated. It was the same story for margins and profitability.
The three-year cash influx should allow the automaker to offer three versions of its vehicles (internal combustion only, hybrid, and EV) by 2025, Bloomberg reports. However, the company isn’t about to throw away its cash on models no one wants. A spokesman claimed the availability of EV variants hinges on consumer demand.
The Nikkei Asian Review reports JLR expects a negative cash flow in the near term. Still, even as the automaker fling funds, an efficiency plan is underway. The plan includes maximizing the use of its brand new Slovakian assembly plant and developing modular architecture for these new maybe-EVs. JLR hopes to boost pre-tax operating margins from the 3.8 percent seen at the end of the last fiscal year to 7 percent in 2021 (and 9 percent sometime after that).
It’s anyone’s guess as to which model nameplates undergo the EV treatment, but volume and prestige are surely key indicators. Earlier this year, Autocar reported that the fading XJ flagship sedan would return next year as an electric model.
[Image: © 2017 Matthew Guy/TTAC]