Radical Electric SUV Coming From Jaguar

Electric SUV from Jaguar

The immediate popularity of the sold-out Tesla Model X is the spark that will light the fuse for an explosion of electric SUV models from the world’s automakers. Audi plans to have its Q6 e-tron quattro ready by 2018. Volvo has just converted its XC90 to electric power. According to Autocar, Jaguar says it intends to crash the party in 2017 with a 4-motor electric SUV featuring “revolutionary” styling that will set it apart from other Jaguar models in the same way BMW i cars are distinctive from every other car the Bavarian automaker builds.

Right now, the best information is that the new Jag — which has yet to have a name, although the company has filed for a trademark on “EV-Type” — will have 300 miles of range from 4 electric motors driving the wheels via half shafts. However, parent company Tata does have experience with in-wheel electric motors and may be pushing engineers to provide the same technology for the new Jaguar SUV to further set it apart from “ordinary” cars.

In-wheel motors add unsprung weight to the corners, weight that works against the crisp handling that is the signature trait of Jaguar automobiles. But modern digital technology may make it possible for an active suspension system to overcome much of that disadvantage. We know that Honda is working on a new CR-Z with four in-wheel motors. They may be the wave of the future, as they open up all sorts of possibilities to repackage passengers and cargo in new and innovative ways.

Jaguar says if we want a hint of what the new car will look like, we need look no further than the super sexy, drool-inducing shape of the C-X75 concept car it introduced in Paris in 2010. That car featured 4 electric motors, a 30-mile range, and 2 diesel turbine range extender engines. The car was never produced, weighed down by a $1,000,000 price tag in a time of global economic pain. But those of us who have seen Spectre, the latest James Bond movie, saw one of the prototypes brought out of mothballs for a chase scene along rain-slicked streets in Rome.

That was no accident. Jaguar specifically requested the producers include the car in their movie because they plan to draw inspiration for the new SUV from its slinky shape. How a two-passenger, ultra-low sports car will transform itself into a 7-passenger SUV with a high center of gravity remains a mystery at this point. (Full disclosure: my wife and I went to see Spectre last weekend. Afterwards, she asked me if that orange car in the chase scene was a Tesla.)

If you are wondering what is so revolutionary about the concept drawing that accompanies this story, you are not alone. That car could be from Volvo or Hyundai or any one of a number of other manufacturers. If that’s what Jaguar has in mind, they are already far down the wrong road.

The new Jag is expected to sell for around $80,000. It’s probably no coincidence that happens to be almost exactly the starting price of a Tesla Model X. Soon the world will be awash in electric SUVs.

Source | Photo Credit: Autocar.

Steve Hanley

Closely following the transition from internal combustion to electricity. Whether it's cars, trucks, ships, or airplanes, sustainability is the key. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.