Jaguar CEO Discusses Electric Cars, Battery Technology & Why EVs Aren’t In Jaguar’s Near Future

NOV 5 2015 BY MARK KANE 55

 JLR Concept_e Cenex 2015

JLR Concept_e Cenex 2015

Jaguar C-X17 concept car will not get all-electric version

Jaguar C-X17 concept car (not electric)

A very interesting interview with Jaguar Land Rover CEO Ralf Speth was recently delivered by Automotive News.

Besides the part about company expansion, new production facilities around the world and financial results, there were a few important questions about electric cars in the context of EVs announced by companies like Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Porsche.

Jaguar Land Rover hasn’t introduce any production electric cars yet, although they have some under development in non-production research projects.

Ralf Speth said that JLR will not join other companies – “at the moment” – because of the insufficient state of battery technology. He noted that JLR will introduce EVs in the future when batteries improve.

“We are still far from an ideal ratio of energy density and weight of the batteries — not to mention their cost.”

Moreover, asked about the long range of over 300 miles promised by Audi, Speth said:

“The range is not the core issue. You can achieve any range you want with electric vehicles. It’s only a question of how many battery stacks you will have and how many kilograms you will carry around. A 2.4-ton [electric] sedan is not an environmentally friendly vehicle.

The issue is that the output of the battery has to become better.”

We see there a clear reference to the Tesla Model S, which in JLR CEO’s eyes isn’t helping the environment.

Ralf Speth expects higher power and energy density before he would switch the company to electric drive and he seems not encouraged by weekly battery breakthroughs reported on the Internet:

“We have targets in kilowatt power, in density and in weight, and we need breakthrough technologies to get there. What we hear from experts is that these [breakthroughs] will take a little bit longer than everyone expects.”

Source: Automotive News

Categories: Jaguar


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55 Comments on "Jaguar CEO Discusses Electric Cars, Battery Technology & Why EVs Aren’t In Jaguar’s Near Future"

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Just pony up the money for batteries from LG, like everyone else. Sheesh. 😛

Seems like a classic example of waiting for the ‘Perfect’, at the cost of the ‘Acceptable’, whereas when the perfect arrives, Tesla will have a fully developed Vehicle range, charging network, and energy storage systems that could then just be upgraded!

And Tesla will have wide recognition as being a Leader in the field, as well as a complete system or solution.

Tesla can only progress at the rate of battery cell progression. That’s why the Model S won’t be significantly different in that regard in 2018 when the luxury Audis, Porsches, Mercedes, etc. are released, which is why Tesla’s so-called five year “head start” is meaningless.

2018 Model S will have battery packs with ~15% more kWh at 40% less cost per kWh.

Which is very meaningful because the Germans will have either an inferior car, a much more expensive car or a car that makes no money.

While 2018 Tesla challenges current Porsche ICEv for highest margins in the industry.

“Head start Meaningless?” Hmm.. Lets see thousands of cars produced over a number of years with numerous upgrades, refinements, and lots of consumer feed back in not only the US but in Europe – meaningless? Wake up. Tesla has a BIG headstart over all of the European latecomers. They have not produced a single car to date that is remotely competitive or remotely comparable to the Tesla S, X, or Roadster for that matter.

Yes, I too have a different take on what the meaningless means, as in inconsequential, without meaning, so slight a change as to be almost measureless.
I might use those terms to describe Marks usual Tesla bashing commentaries, but logical thought, dictates that to apply that word to Tesla is actually meaningless.

Do you really believe that other automaker have no expierence regarding customer feedback and driving expierence. EVs are silent ok, what else is different for normal consumer? Nothing.

Sure all other will have batteries that are 15% more expensive. So what, at 90kWh and a battery price of 150€/kWh the difference is only 2000€.

Betamaxx was also better, did not help in winning consumers 😉

At least you recognize the berth Tesla has been given, by these others. I’ll give you that.

How long it lasts, you may be incorrect about. VW’s (meaning Audi, Porsche, VW) management hasn’t even hastened the release of the Q7 PHEV. How is it we are to believe they will chose to compete, in “2018”?

This week has shown, if nothing else, VWG is content to keep only customers who don’t mind pollution, and a little bit of fraud. What they do has nothing to do with correct business timing. Their governance is so anchored to Lower Saxony, and the wishes of the “grandchildren”, that I bet you are sorely mistaken that they would follow through with a 2018 decision to genuinely compete.

Have you read what Warburton, ISI and other analysts are saying? “Speechless”. Not good lingo, for such a career path, but VWG has managed to make that a tenable analytical commentary on their behavior.

Living in a bubble.

Wind and Solar, in the US, now cheaper than All Carbon Sources. Exxon? Totally blind to the situation. Still thinks solar will grow linearly. Apparently, no one employed there has ever seen tech grow in a geometric function.

Tesla has battery production capacity – a huge advantage. If batteries improve to a level which is “acceptable” to Jaguar and others, they will fight for the limited production capacity of LG, Samsung and a few others. It will take them at least two years to build new factories.

yes, but battery manufacturing companies, as well as automaker can plan in advantage (at least 2 years).

The key point here is the volume, not volumetric density of the batteries, but the number that can be produced/bought. It takes time and money to build massive battery factories, consumers however aren’t used to being told that the car they want to buy will take 3 years to arrive! As far as I can see, only Tesla stands a cat’s chance in hell of being able to sell 500,000 EVs with 200+ mile range in 2020. Everyone else will be able to produce something like 50,000 EVs in 2020, irrespective of customer demand.

Do you really belive that GM can only produce 50.000 Volt in 2020 when they expect first year already to be 30.000? Laughable. If intial demand is way higher than expected i am sure they can ramp up to 250.000/year until 2020.

I assume you mean Bolt not Volt. You’re right they may well be able to buy more batteries from LG Chem and therefore reach a higher total number of sales by 2020. The problem is if LG Chem is selling all it’s batteries to GM for the Bolt, then it can’t sell them to another manufacturer. My guess is that non-Gigafactory automotive battery production will likely be around 35GWhrs by 2020. That should be enough to manufacture 500,000 non-Tesla cars, but it is split between all the auto manufacturers. Companies like Audi aren’t going to be willing to give up their share of battery production, just because GM is onto a good thing with the Bolt. In fact as the Audi EVs will likely sell for a higher price, with a higher profit margin than the Bolt, the effect will be for Audi to push up the price in order to enable them to sell as many of their EVs as they can. If EVs really take off at the 200 mile range point (which I believe they will), there is going to be a massive land grab for batteries and only auto companies that make their own will be… Read more »

Nissan is the exception there. They have internal battery manufacturing on three continents. It has been a plan from the beginning to hit massive volumes, they just weren’t there with the battery tech yet.

Yes i meant Bolt, probably autocorrect. Your assumptions makes sense 🙂 But LG Chem will ramp up production within 3-5 years if everyone will demand 1,5 times as much as the initial guess.

Some peoples ideas of what is environmentally friendly surprises me. Try my fresh air test. Take a Tesla start it up in your garage with the doors closed, sit there for 20 minutes. Turn it off. Now go get any Jaguar and do the same.

Tell me which one is more environmentally friendly, as in friendly to human life, as in you breathe in too much CO and you die, happens all the time.

If it’s pre-Ford ownership, the air quality would probably be the same, since the Jaguar wouldn’t start.

I found that far funnier than I should have.

My parent’s almost bought a used Jaguar in 1989. About a week after they decided not to buy it, my dad saw it up on blocks and torn apart on the lawn of the guy that was trying to sell it.

Touche’ +1.

Right. Has there ever been a more unreliable line of luxury cars than Jaguar over its existence?

I was a dream of my dad to own a Jaguar, so when he finally could, he bought a new one (this was in the mid-80s).

On the drive home from the dealership, 20 miles down the freeway, the speedometer broke! The needle dropped to zero even though we were going 60 mph.

We turned around and drove back to the dealership, left the car to be fixed. A disappointing “new car day” to be sure. But, this episode was just the tip of the iceberg.

In the end, after numerous other more serious problems that couldn’t be completely fixed, my dad finally took the dealership into arbitration under California lemon law.

Long story short… the Jaguar dealer was defenseless and the arbitration panel unanimously sided with my dad. He got his full purchase price back, including taxes, and returned the Junkuar to the dealer.

He then bought a new Nissan Maxima, which worked great for 20 years.


+++Billion points for using it in a sentence, too! 😀

LOL great thread everybody! 🙂

Same with my dad only he never learned his lesson. I think he had three Jags in different periods of his life, probably hoping each time that they would be better products. Nope. Always in the shop. I forgot who made the gauges but they were always unreliable. They were beautiful cars to look at though. I would like to know why Jaguar couldn’t produce a reliable car. Bad parts, poor assembly practices, or what?

Bumper sticker seen on a Jag…

“The parts falling off of this car are of the finest British quality.”

Years ago, when I was first starting out as an insurance adjuster I spoke to a customer who had a damaged Jaguar. I was excited to ask him about how he enjoyed the car. He told me he really liked driving both of his Jaguars. Two of them? I asked. “Yeah, you always need one to use while the other one is in the shop… On of them is always in the shop…” He was serious.


And in the Ford period, most of the models were essentially overpriced Fords, where buyers paid just for the name. I’m not sure what the Tata ownership is like.


I once saw a Jag with a Bumper Sticker saying “All of the parts falling off this car are of the finest British manufacture.”

Ah, Trace saw it too!

Also being a CEO of a car company does he not understand what MPGe is? The S90D has an EPA 100 MPGe rating. It doesn’t matter if it weighs 2.4 tons, 300 bowling balls or 1400 ducks because it still gets 100 MPGe.

If some amazing new technology allowed a 20 ton long haul semi trailer to get 500 MPGe you wouldn’t make the argument that this technology isn’t good for the environment because it’s heavy.

Ralf Speth is making excuses. His shareholders probably want to know why Jaguar is sitting on it’s own head while the rest of the industry is marching forward.
This is just noise. We’ll see if Ralf remains CEO over the next 2-3 years.


In addition, since it is replacing luxury sports sedans that burn premium fuel at barely 20mpg average, then one can really appreciate the significance!


That, and the lack of pools/stains of leaking petroleum products on the ground.

+1 I thought of that too, ex post facto.

First: There is no 2.4 ton electric sedan.
Second: Since when is JLR concerned about weight? (They build the Range Rover)
Third: Since when are they concerned about the environment? If thats the case, the company has built the wrong cars for quite some time now. Should anyone tell them?

Actually he chose that weight specifically to imply the Tesla Model S. 2.4 tons = 4800 lbs, which is the average of a Model S, which is electric and is a sedan. Also this was suggested by the article.

Yeah, but the S is a hatchback.

So if you live in Paris you could call it the hatchback of Notre Dame?


“A 2.4-ton [electric] sedan is not an environmentally friendly vehicle.”

2.4 tons is Bentley’s standard recipe, and furthermore, you’d end up with more usable space if you nixed the, more negatively consequential, engine.

Jaguar is answerable to the British, the ones who are in favor of nuclear (by infrastructure). The “Isles” have always been a perfect place for EV. Even if they are a company selling abroad, the message Speth is sending is that Jaguar is lost on its own turf.

Yeah, I think so too. In that a few years from now Jaguar many just be an afterthought, if they are even thought about at all, except by classic car owners.
Though an electric Jag would be so cool.

I guess they can sit around and talk about what can’t be done while every one else is actually doing something. I never liked their cars anyway.

Speth: “A 2.4-ton [electric] sedan is not an environmentally friendly vehicle.” But a 2.5T, V8, 4.3 litre Range Rover is…? What an utterly moronic statement. Change or die. MW

I’m quite certain a 2.4 ton EV will still use less energy to move than any car they have on offer, with equal or better performance.
They’ll change their minds when they see an increasing number of their customers go for EVs, mostly from Tesla.

I quite certain a 2.4 ton EV will use less energy to move than TWO of any car they have on offer, irrespective of performance!

I think you mean (2) 2.4 ton EV’s will require less energy to move than any (1) of JLR products… not the other way around.


So at this point, we can get a Jaguar, convert it to electric ourselves, and end up with a vehicle much better than the original could ever be.

How about stuffing batteries in the long nose of an XKE? That would be a beautiful EV.

The reason why EVs are not in your near future is because you lacked the foresight to identify the market that Tesla is now excelling in.


Which has been the whole point all along, and applies to almost the entire auto industry.

Well, since they’re owned by Tata Motors, the emphesis is elsewhere. Some parts of India don’t even have electricity.

Also, the home office may not want any low-profit margin vehicles.

So, no, I would not expect great things from Tata Motors regarding electrics.

it wouldnt be low profit margin vehicle.there is al ready great things from tata motors.