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Jaguar’s embrace of electrification won’t hurt its enthusiast appeal: Callum

By Tony O'Kane, 14 Sep 2017 News

jaguar electric future

Jaguar’s chief designer Ian Callum says fans of the brand shouldn’t see the impending electrification of the Jaguar showroom as something to fear

TAKING pride of place on the Jaguar stand at the Frankfurt Motor Show was the strikingly aggressive I-Pace eTrophy, a bright teal, race-ready version of the British marque’s pure-electric SUV.

Set for its own one-make race series in 2018, the same year the road-going version of the I-Pace rolls into showrooms, the I-Pace eTrophy should be the kind of thing that makes Jaguar faithful hurl their flatcaps onto the dirt.

After all, an electric SUV is perhaps the last vehicle from the Jaguar stable that you’d base a race car on.

Ian Callum jaguar electric cars
But Ian Callum, Jaguar’s head of design, says the brand’s plans to electrify its entire lineup by 2020 isn’t something that driving enthusiasts should be concerned about.

“We’re working on a few electric cars at the moment,” Callum told Wheels. “I think there will be no lack of emotion.”

“I’ve driven the I-Pace and it’s good fun to drive and handles well. Mike Cross, our test driver, likes it and he’s responsible for making it drive like a Jaguar.”

But while company people are bullish about the rise of electrification at Jaguar, Callum conceded that a lot of time may need to pass before die-hard fans would accept a pure EV like the I-Pace as being true Jaguars.

Jaguar electric
“Sometimes it just takes time for people to take it on board, but the values are strong enough to run through [to an EV]. As for sports cars, eventually if there are electric sports cars [for Jaguar] I’m sure they’ll deliver on the promise.”

Callum wouldn’t say how long it would take until Jaguar’s first electric-only sports car arrived, but the company’s 2020 electrification target doesn’t necessarily mean battery-electrics will be the sole powertrain offering across its product portfolio – not by a long shot.

Jaguar electric cars
Combustion engines aren’t about to be culled entirely by Jaguar, but from 2020 all engines will be augmented in some way by electricity - whether through the addition of a mild hybrid system or as a plug-in hybrid.