Rumor has it that Land Rover may be looking to muscle in on Tesla's turf with a luxury electric car of their own. The car will retain AWD capabilities and should boast a better mileage on a single charge. Future generations may also include luxurious designs.
Word is that the company are thinking of developing their new battery powered Range Rover model according to a report from Autocar. The car will allegedly be based on one of the smaller models from their lineup as opposed to the Rover flagship, though it's still likely to feature a roomier and more versatile design than EVs from the competition. Notably it will be an AWD which will set it apart from Tesla's current and upcoming lineup.
Another selling point of this potential electric Land Rover, is that it will boast a greater range per charge than other purely electric vehicles including the Model S. Whether it will be able to compete with Tesla's planned Model III though will remain to be seen.
Auto car reported comments from Jaguar Land Rover group's engineering director Wolfgang Ziebart, who told an industry newspaper about their plans. In these comments, he told the newspaper that a prospective second or third family might also include luxury interiors somewhat similar to the Jaguar XJ Sedan.
Land Rover's chief designer Gerry McGovern also got in on the act describing an 'incredibly luxurious, low slung' vehicle that would primarily focus on on-road performance while maintaining the ability to go off road. It would probably use an aluminium monocoque architecture with alternatives available in gas and diesel. The inward bound Jaguar CX-17 crossover might provide the basis for a vehicle along these lines.
We can be fairly confident that these comments are accurate, particularly considering what else we know about Land Rover and the current market for electric vehicles. The company has been known to be testing electric Land Rover Defenders in the field of late and we know that they want to expand the Range Rover sub-brand to incorporate a wider range of niche offerings. In particular, it appears that they want to target urbanites and get them interested in the brand, which means they'll want to bring down running costs and make their cars more efficient. A great way to do that is of course to introduce an all electric land rover.
It also makes sense when you consider the state of the market generally. Electric cars are gradually starting to become a viable option and are beginning to make financial sense for OEMs. In February 2011, the Mitsubishi MiEV broke a milestone to become the second EV to ever sell over 10,000 units. Over the last couple of years, many more companies have jumped on the band wagon with the ActiveE, Coda, Kia Soul EV, Volkswagen e-Golf, BMW i3, Chevrolet Spark EV and Nissan Leaf. Nissan have actually sold more electric vehicles than any other company – more than 100,000 Nissan Leafs had been sold as of January 2014.
Tesla Motors have made their patents open source and are busy working on their Supercharger network to ensure there are more charging points around the world. More and more countries are starting to introduce CO2 average emissions… in many ways the writing is on the wall and EVs are likely to become more common and more popular.
Electric cars still don't even make up 1% of all automobiles sold in the US, but that's a number that's very likely to grow and manufacturers are likely to be rewarded for getting an early foothold in a growing market.
Now Land Rover are in on the act, the question is: who's next?