Jaguar will become the first British automaker to launch a mass-produced battery-electric car when it introduces the I-Pace (pictured). Sister company Land Rover wants to borrow the soon-to-debut EV’s basic architecture to spearhead its own foray into the segment, according to executives.
Using Jaguar’s skateboard-style I-Pace platform is “inevitable,” Land Rover design boss Gerry McGovern told Australian magazine Drive on the sidelines of the Los Angeles Auto Show. The two vehicles will serve different purposes, so Land Rover’s version of the car won’t be merely a badge-engineered I-Pace. Expect it to be more rugged-looking and not as road-focused as its low-slung cousin. It will receive a completely different design but it’s too early to even speculate what it will look like. Even Land Rover doesn’t know what to expect.
“There are different ways to approach it. The big question the electric vehicle poses is, do you want to take advantage of the benefits in the change of the layout and package you are afforded without needing to have an engine under a bonnet up the front? Do you want to do a cab-forward design or a one-box, which is good for a minivan but not for me,” McGovern explained. He added a better solution is to use the extra space to bake innovative new features into a car, though he didn’t specify what he had in mind.
Another enigma involves where the model will slot in the range. Land Rover currently divides its lineup into two distinct pillars called Discovery and Range Rover, respectively. The brand will launch a third pillar, named Defender, next year when it brings back the heritage-laced nameplate after a three-year hiatus. The electric model could join one of the three pillars, or it could exist on its own as a stand-alone model. Regardless, it will need to offer the off-road capacity buyers expect from a Land Rover. The generous low-end torque of an electric motor will help in that department.
There’s no word on when Land Rover will introduce its I-Pace-based model. We imagine it won’t be until Jaguar has fully launched the I-Pace and production reaches cruising speed, so we wouldn’t bet on seeing it next year — at least not as a production model. Land Rover could choose to preview the model with a thinly veiled concept like Jaguar did about a year ago. Until then, buyers who want an electrified Land Rover can select the new P400e variants of the Range Rover and the Range Rover Sport.