JLR slows electric car blitz but boosts PHEV output

JLR (formerly Jaguar Land Rover) is slowing down its electric car launch plans across all its brands, partly to allow further development time but also to cater for a recent spike in demand for its plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Speaking to reporters recently, CEO Adrian Mardell hinted at a slight scaling back of the EV launch plan detailed by his predecessor, Thierry Bolloré, in 2021. Mardell said: “We talked about six Land Rovers by 2026. The reality is we’re likely to have six JLR products by 2026.

“We’re taking our time to make sure we put the best vehicles we’ve ever developed into the marketplace with that new technology.”

The first of JLR’s new electric cars is the Range Rover EV, for which it has already taken more than 16,000 expressions of interest ahead of its launch later this year.

Mardell said the launch date of that car could be moved back to ensure it is fully ready for the market: “That’s essential for us, and if that takes a few more months to get to that point, then the team will be allowed to get to that point, because we can’t put these wonderful new products in the marketplace that loses some of the magic that we have in those vehicles today.

But another factor in JLR’s decision to slow down its EV roll-out is a rise in demand for plug-in hybrid vehicles. “The other thing that’s clear is that the industry has evolved over the last three years,” Mardell said, “and there’s been a lot of surprise in terms of acceptance of the PHEV vehicles, and we’re working hard in the interim to make more PHEVs available to the marketplace.”

Range Rover Sport PHEV driving – rear quarter

JLR currently sells plug-in hybrid versions of the Range Rover, Range Rover Sport, Evoque, Velar, Discovery Sport, Defender, Jaguar F-Pace and E-Pace – but it has not given any indication of how each is performing individually and nor has it said how this offering could be expanded.

The Land Rover Discovery is likely to be too far into its current life cycle to warrant the costly re-engineering programme necessary for the addition of a PHEV option. This same applies to the Jaguar XE and XF, which will both be retired soon to make way for Jaguar’s much more upmarket new-era EV models.

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