Jaguar Land Rover has unveiled its plans for electric and hydrogen fuel cell cars over the next few years, while elsewhere in the auto sector, Apple’s faltering plans to enter the market were making more headlines.
JLR, which is owned by India’s Tata Motors, will roll out its first all-electric Land Rover in 2024 and first hydrogen fuel cell prototypes within the next 12 months.
All in all, the company’s new chief executive Thierry Bollore said the aim is to have six pure electric variants of its various Land Rover SUV models on the road by 2026, where in the SUV category they will be up against Tesla Inc‘s (NASDAQ:TSLA) Model X and Model Y, plus all-electric models from Hyundai, Toyota, BMW, Audi, Lexus, Lotus and others before then.
The Jaguar brand will only produce all-electric cars from 2025, while Land Rover will retain its off-road ethos but continue its push upmarket, in what Bollore said was a new strategy that emphasised “quality over volume”.
By 2039, he said JLR aims to achieve net zero carbon emissions across its supply chain, products and operations.
In hydrogen mobility, as part of its wider ambition to reduce its net carbon emissions, the company said it is preparing for when the hydrogen economy is more mature, with development “already underway” of prototype vehicle powered by hydrogen fuel cells that will be arriving on UK roads “within the next 12 months as part of the long-term investment programme”.
JLR will get investment of around GBP2.5bn per year pourted into electrification technologies and the development of connected services.
Can Apple get anyone to bite?
Meanwhile, the boss of Volkswagen said the German auto giant was “not afraid” by Apple’s plans to enter the market.
VW chief executive Herbert Diess said: “The car industry is not a typical tech-sector that you could take over at a single stroke.”
“Apple will not manage that overnight,” he said in in an interview with German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.
Although there have been plenty of media reports but no official plans from the company, Diess said Apple’s eventually launching a car would be “logical”, since the Silicon Valley tech colossus has expertise in battery technology, software, design and the deep pockets to make major investments.
But he said he does not believe Apple poses a threat to VW or other traditional carmakers.
After Hyundai-Kia Motors ruled themselves out of being Apple’s automotive partner, Nissan was the next to be surrounded by speculation, helped by comments from the Japanese company’s boss.
Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida said recently that the company “need to take new initiatives,” said “work with companies that are knowledgeable, with good experience, through partnership and collaboration”.
Indeed, Nissan and Apple have held discussions, the FT reported.
A Nissan spokesperson said, however, “we are not in talks with Apple.”
The Japanese company was disinclined to become an assembler for Apple-branded cars, the FT reported, similar to concerns that had apparently held back the discussions with Kia.
Outsourcing production through original equipment manufacturing (OEM) contracts is widespread in the auto industry.
China’s Geely could be a potential partner for Apple, having agreed contract manufacturing deals in recent weeks with Foxconn and Baidu.