Jaguar Land Rover has teased the next-generation all-electric XJ at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show.
A sketch of the new car's rear end flashed up on a screen at the company's press conference, just before CEO Professor Dr. Ralf Speth introduced the all new Land Rover Defender. The new XJ will be made in the UK at JLR's Castle Bromwich production site, safeguarding thousands of jobs over the next few years.
The picture, which appeared behind Speth as he welcomed the world's motoring media to Germany, shows the new XJ will get a full-width LED light bar.
It looks as if the new XJ will get a sharper XF-inspired bootlid, with a centrally-mounted badge and Jaguar lettering, too. The image fades to white, disguising the car's left-hand side and much of the overall shape.
Speth said: "Based on our rich knowledge and experience gained from the I-Pace, Formula-E and I-Pace eTROPHY, our engineering team is in full swing to deliver the world’s first, full-electric luxury sports saloon. The flagship of Jaguar: the all-new XJ.
"The new, all-electric XJ – extraordinarily remastered for the 21st century – will offer spiritual freedom for our customers," he said. "Gliding in elegance, new tranquillity and new functionality, and in full consciousness taking care of the environment."
This news comes just two months after JLR announced the new XJ would be built in the UK, which followed the British manufacturer’s pledge to offer electrified options for all its new models from 2020. The new XJ will be the first electric car produced at the brand’s re-tooled Castle Bromwich plant, being designed and developed by the same team responsible for Jaguar’s all-electric premium SUV, the I-Pace.
Jaguar aims to implement “giga-scale” battery production to support the project, with a new UK-based plant in Hams Hall, North Warwickshire. The facility will be operational by 2020 and aims to produce enough batteries to supply 150,000 electric Jaguar Land Rover models each year.
“If battery production goes out of the UK then automotive production will go out of the UK,” Jaguar Land Rover CEO explained. “The battery is 40 per cent of the cost of an electric vehicle - we want to keep this kind of added value inside the UK.”
Basing production of the all-electric XJ at Castle Bromwich also makes logistical sense to Jaguar Land Rover, offering easy access to the firm’s electric motor manufacturing centre in Wolverhampton. The experience of the plant’s current employees (who specialise in working with the XJ’s all-aluminium construction) will also prove invaluable.
Switching the XJ to a pure-electric powertrain will also allow Jaguar to steal yet another march on its German rivals, following the success of the I-Pace.
That car arrived around a year before Mercedes or Audi managed to get the EQC and e-Tron to market – cars that are based on existing platforms instead of the Jaguar's bespoke electric architecture.
Britain’s biggest car maker has suffered a series of setbacks over the past 12 months, forced to axe jobs and investment to boost profits amid dwindling sales due, in part, to JLR’s reliance on diesel, which has fallen out of favour with consumers.
The facility at Castle Bromwich will be completely overhauled during the summer. “I am delighted to announce a major electric vehicle offensive to be built at Castle Bromwich,” Ralf Speth told Auto Express. “This facility will give us flexibility to develop EVs and hybrid vehicles alongside our diesel cars, giving customers even greater choice.”
Asked about the size of the investment JLR had made at the site Speth added: “If you introduce new architectures it’s not millions but billions - it is spread over a number of years.” The first vehicle to be produced at the site will be the fully-electric, ninth-generation Jaguar XJ.
The investment at Castle Bromwich comes despite the UK’s uncertain future with the European Union after Brexit. Speth told Auto Express that the company had been given no assurances in the case of a no-deal Brexit and that the firm has “made the decision for the better of society and keeping production in the UK”.