Jaguar Land Rover is preparing a new modular vehicle platform for large saloons and SUVs which will be adaptable to all-electric or hybrid powertrains.
Dubbed the Modular Longitudinal Architecture (MLA), the new platform will replace as many as five different platforms that the company is currently using. In moving from multiple platforms to one scalable architecture, Jaguar Land Rover will "drive margin improvement driven by new products and cost improvements," according to Nick Rogers JLR's head of product engineering, who was speaking at the company's recent investor day.
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However, while using one adaptable platform will have its cost-saving benefits, the need to have room for a combustion engine, even if one isn't being used, cabin space can't be best utilized as it could in an electric-only platform.
Electric cars based on the platform will have 90.2 kWh batteries capable of giving a range of 292 miles, while plug-in hybrid models will use a 13.1 kWh battery which will give an electric-only range of just over 30 miles.
At first it will the basis of the new Jaguar XJ, which will be rolled out as an all-electric model initially, and the next generation Range Rover.
The new XJ is due next year, and will likely be produced at Jaguar Land Rover's Solihull plant alongside other MLA-based machines. That means that when the current generation of XJ goes out of production next month, it will probably be the last XJ to be built at the Castle Bromwich plant, at least for now.
The super-saloon is set to be introduced first as an all-electric model, but a six-cylinder petrol version will follow later on, according to Automotive News Europe.
Due in 2021, the new Range Rover will make use of the MLA's plug-in hybrid capabilities. Both the Range Rover and the Range Rover Sport will be based on the MLA platform, and will be launched with hybrid variants, but one of the four Range Rover models (also including the Evoque and Velar) will have an all-electric variant at some point in the near future.
The introduction of the MLA will mark the beginning of an influx of all-electric and plug-in models from Jaguar Land Rover. While that began in earnest with the I-Pace, which is built by a third-party contractor in Austria, they won't use the MLA architecture.