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Opinion: why JLR isn't all-in on electric

Autocar logo Autocar 11/02/2019 Hilton Holloway
a car parked on the side of a mountain: Jaguar has been rumoured to be considering complete electrification © Autocar Jaguar has been rumoured to be considering complete electrification

Jaguar Land Rover’s strategists expressed caution over the take-up of EVs in a presentation with banking analysts last year. The firm’s own estimate was for 20% of new cars being electric by 2025. BMW and Volkswagen hedged their bets at 15-25%. 

Bloomberg and Bank of America were at 26% and 24%. Analysts at Bernstein offered a ‘rapid adoption’ estimate of 57% by 2030 and low adoption rate of just 19% by the end of the next decade. 

In short, nobody knows. It won’t have steadied the nerves of any automotive planners to see that Tesla has decided to cut more than 3000 jobs from its 45,000-strong workforce, admitting its cars were still too expensive for the mainstream and profits too low. 

a red car parked on the side of a road: Tesla needs the Model 3 to sell in higher volumes than other models © Autocar Tesla needs the Model 3 to sell in higher volumes than other models

Tesla boss Elon Musk said the only answer for the company was a global roll-out of the Model 3, higher volumes and lower showroom prices. 

Which is a good summary of where the ‘EV revolution’ stands today. Will EVs remain expensive niche cars for high-earners with an environmental mindset? Or will, for example, VW’s wildly ambitious ID family really take EVs mainstream? 

a car parked on the side of a road: Volkswagen's ID family is tipped to bring electrification to the masses © Autocar Volkswagen's ID family is tipped to bring electrification to the masses

Given the uncertainty, it’s no surprise both BMW and Jaguar have announced new-generation architectures that can be built as ICEs, plug-in hybrids and EVs. 

Despite the huge media coverage, high market valuation of Tesla and government expectations, only when millions of drivers start signing cheques will we know if EVs are the way forward.

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