Autocar reports that Jaguar, as part of a plan to reinvent itself, is developing a dedicated electric vehicle chassis it has dubbed Panthera. Developed in cooperation with Magna, which builds the I-Pace for Jaguar, the platform will feature 800 volt architecture, advanced electric motors, the very latest motor designs, cloud connectivity, and enough processing power to make advanced autonomous driving features possible.
In addition to working with Magna on the Panthera platform and electric drive systems, JLR says its engineers are collaborating with Nvidia on software with significant cloud connectivity. The focus is on collecting data from the car and its environment to leverage revenue services and autonomous driving features. JLR strategy director François Dossa said earlier this year, “This is a very sophisticated architecture and we’re going to work with Nvidia to integrate its tech within our architecture.”
Jaguar says it will offer three new battery-electric SUVs based on the Panthera platform by 2025. Both single and dual motor versions will be offered. The entry level 3-door vehicle will start at around £80,000, but the 5-door dual motor offering is expected to list for €120,000. There reportedly will be an all singing, all dancing, top of the line SVR model with a 200 mm longer wheelbase that will list for £200,000. The batteries for the new models will be sourced from a British manufacturer, possibly Envision AESC, which is building a factory near the Nissan factory in Sunderland.
The company has trotted out every superlative available in the press office lexicon to describe its new offerings, using terms like “jaw dropping” and “incredibly exciting.” All of that may be true, but the design concept released this week looks more like something like a team of former Pontiac and Toyota stylists might cobble together with a front end treatment that resembles the Ford Mustang Mach-E. It’s a long way from the svelte I-Pace, which may not be the best electric car on the market, but is very pleasing to the eye.
The new cars are expected to compete with the likes of Bentley and Porsche, neither of which build boring cars. The company says its sales target is around 60,000 cars a year. The new Jaguar is expected to lean heavily on “green” materials, including recycled aluminum for the bodies, and carpets made from wool, silk, and recycled fabrics. Interior appointments will feature ceramics, stone, and glass. An analyst for One City tells Autocar, the driving concept behind the new cars will be “premiumness being indivisible from greenness.”
There is no clear indication from the company about where the new Jaguar models will be manufactured. Magna could take on the work, but early indications are that Jaguar may expand its existing factory at Solihull for that purpose. The land needed for an expansion is currently the home of the Solihull Moors Football Club, whose chairman has said the club might agree to move if a new, state of the art sporting facility were to be part of the deal.
Solihull is near the Birmingham airport, which would allow well-heeled customers to jet in to discuss their particular needs and desires in the cosseted confines of the executive suite while sharing a cuppa with management. For some customers, exclusivity is more important than price or engineering competence. The new Jaguars should be just the ticket for those folks.
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