Land Rover has confirmed their plans to manufacture batteries for their electric future, including opening a new facility in England's West Midlands.
All model lines will offer an electric option in 2020, meaning significantly more space to produce batteries is now required. Although Jaguar Land Rover has been having some financial issues, investing in in-house battery production is a critical expense to secure their future.
They will begin producing Electronic Drive Units (EDUs) at their engine plant in Wolverhampton, England, opened in 2014 by Her Majesty The Queen, where they manufacture the Ingenium engine. A new battery facility will be built in the town of Hams Hall in North Warwickshire.
This will presumably allow the battery technology used in the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport plug-in hybrids to be brought in house, as well as the technology for the Range Rover Evoque's mild hybrid system.
Jaguar is already producing the I-Pace, the first all-electric SUV to seriously take on the Tesla Model X. Sales on the I-Pace are strong, even though it is not yet fully available in North America. The I-Pace clearly be the first blow in JLR's electric plan.
In 2020, JLR plans to offer a mild hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or fully-battery-powered variant of all of their vehicles. The Range Rover and Range Rover Sport are already going to be offered in a plug-in hybrid version this year, and it's expected the new Defender will be offered in some electric version alongside internal-combustion options.
Jaguar Land Rover finds themselves in an odd position right now, being leaders in Europe with diesel, but also hanging their hat a lot on that technology as it falls suddenly out of favor. It's clear from the financials that that's a major issue at the moment. However, they have made it very clear through these electric and battery investments, as well as other statements in recent years, that they fully intend to carve out a significant niche in electric vehicles. Even as they are cutting jobs elsewhere and moving Discovery and Defender production to lower-overhead Slovakia, they are building all-new facilities for electric technology. The possibilities are definitely worth keeping an eye on.
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