Chess is an elaborate game that rewards players for looking multiple moves into the future. It seems that Land Rover has been doing a little projecting of their own, as recent remarks from a top source indicated that the SUV maker is considering an all-electric model, or EV.
Wolfgang Ziebart, the sole engineering head for both companies, gave a bit of a riddle by saying that EVs are currently divided into small, urban vehicles and a “second or third car for a wealthy family.”
This is astonishing for two reasons: 1) The profile and weight of an SUV would have been impossible for an EV only several years ago, and 2) EVs have previously been the provenance of economy and mid-class vehicles; SUVs were strictly off the menu.
Since technology isn’t as much an issue anymore, the question has become: Is a premium EV even possible? Thanks to Tesla, we know that the answer is yes. Also knowing that Tesla is looking to lockup the market in a few years with an SUV of its own, Land Rover is preparing its challenger.
To save on weight, the new Land Rover will be no larger than the Jaguar XJ. That’s smaller than the Evoque and even the new Discovery Sport. This new model will be a crossover SUV, which is the look of an SUV but the size of a car. This crossover could accept the new four-cylinder Ingenium engine, as well, running on either gas or diesel so that if the electric drivetrain isn’t ready, the investment won’t be a total wash.
This is the shrewdest possible way that Land Rover could enter the electric market. Riding the coat tails of excitement for Tesla’s SUV, Land Rover will get millions of dollars of indirect advertisement for free. Crossovers are super popular among Americans, so if you’re going to introduce an EV, we can’t think of a body style with wider appeal.
Thanks to the advanced use of aluminum in the new Jaguar XE sedan, the company is primed as it’ll ever be to create a lightweight, upscale SUV for the electric market. We’ll keep you posted with developments.