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Jaguar Land Rover pushes back BEV rollout, focuses on plug-ins

Mardell indicated that the more mainstream EMA cars would come 12 months after the two electric Range Rovers, with the Jaguar models following after that.

Mardell said JLR would be prepared to delay the launch of the Range Rover Electric to ensure the EV was perfect. “If it takes a few more months to get to that point, then the team will be allowed it,” he said.

JLR said 16,000 people had joined the waiting list for Range Rover Electric. The company has not disclosed prices, although JLR Chief Financial Officer Richard Molyneux said on the earnings call that the EV’s price would be high enough to keep the company’s much improved profit margins.

Automakers have seen demand for EVs cooling, especially at the higher end of the market, which has had a knock-on effect on development. “What you have seen from other OEMs is that the race to BEV is starting to stutter a little,” Mardell said.

Plug-in demand ‘surprise’

JLR has navigated the collapse in demand for diesel vehicles with a shift to plug-in hybrids, which it now offers across its Land Rover lineup, as well as on the Jaguar F-Pace and E-Pace SUVs.

Last year across Europe, JLR increased plug-in hybrid sales more than any other automaker. The company’s sales of plug-in hybrids rose 68 percent to 45,224 in 2023, figures from market analyst Dataforce show.

“PHEV acceptance has been quite a surprise,” Mardell said. “We are working hard in the interim time to make more PHEVs available to the marketplace.” JLR’s plug-in hybrid sales have been constrained in recent months by supply-chain issues.

JLR has said previously that 60 percent of all sales will be BEVs by 2030, rising to 100 percent by 2036.

Other automakers are seeing initial strong demand for BEVs weakening globally as they try to convert a wider audience away from combustion engines.

“We learned that as you scale EVs from 5,000 to 7,000 units a month and you move into the early majority of customers, they are not willing to pay a significant premium for EVs,” Ford CEO Jim Farley said on the automaker’s earnings call on Tuesday.

Ford said it would also focus more on hybrids. “Hybrids will play an increasingly important role in our industry’s transition and will be here for the long run,” he said, adding that margins on hybrids were closer to those for combustion engine vehicles and “much higher” than EV margins.

The Ford Kuga was Europe’s best-selling plug-in hybrid in 2023 with 53,659 sold, beating the Volvo XC60.