Jaguar car brand to go fully electric from 2025

Jaguar Land Rover will invest £2.5 billion (S$4.6 billion) annually under its "Reimagine" plan. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - Jaguar, the Indian-owned luxury car brand, on Monday (Feb 15) said it will produce only electric vehicles from 2025, as governments put pressure on the business world to slash carbon emissions and consumers demand greener products.

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) will invest £2.5 billion (S$4.6 billion) annually under its "Reimagine" plan, which sees the company's first all-electric Land Rover model hitting showrooms in 2024, JLR said in a statement.

JLR is owned by Mumbai-based Tata Motors, itself part of Indian conglomerate Tata Group.

Under its plan, JLR "will substantially reduce and rationalise its non-manufacturing infrastructure" in Britain. The company did not say if this meant job cuts were on the horizon.

"By the middle of the decade, Jaguar will have undergone a renaissance to emerge as a pure electric luxury brand," the statement said.

Of Jaguar's current seven-model line-up, only the compact sport utility vehicle I-Pace is an all-electric vehicle.

JLR said it aims to achieve net zero carbon emissions across its supply chain, products and operations by 2039.

"At the heart of the Reimagine plan will be the electrification of both Land Rover and Jaguar brands on separate architectures with two clear, unique personalities," the company said.

JLR is also preparing to adopt clean fuel-cell power in line with a maturing of the hydrogen economy.

"Development is already under way with prototypes arriving on UK roads within the next 12 months as part of the long-term investment programme," it said.

Hydrogen is seen as a potential miracle fuel that could help the world's worst-polluting industries slash carbon emissions.

The abundant resource gives off no emissions when burnt as fuel, though industry has yet to develop green methods to produce it.

Many major automakers already manufacture models using hydrogen fuel cells. While regulatory moves are pushing automakers to shift to zero-emissions vehicles, consumers are also pulling them, as seen by slumping demand for cars running on petrol and diesel.

Billionaire Elon Musk's electric car giant Tesla Motors last month reported its first annual profit following a big jump in auto deliveries despite the upheaval of the Covid-19 pandemic as the company signalled confidence for more growth this year.

United States car giant Ford, meanwhile, recently announced a dramatic acceleration of its investment push into electric autos, and signalled deepening collaborations with technology giants on the increased digitisation of driving.

Ford's rival General Motors has set a target of having most of its fleet emissions-free by 2035 - and other automakers worldwide are on similar paths.

As for Jaguar Land Rover, yesterday's announcement "is not so much an iconic moment", said Dr Peter Wells, professor of business and sustainability at the Centre for Automotive Industry Research.

Rather, "this decision is a belated admission of the inevitable", he said.

"The next four or five years promise to be highly challenging, and further large-scale industrial restructuring is likely."

JLR yesterday said it would ensure "closer collaboration and knowledge-sharing with Tata Group companies to enhance sustainability and reduce emissions".

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