January 21 2018
‘Electric option for every JLR model from 2020’
08 September 2017

The connectivity that liberates us with autonomous vehicles could become a method of insecurity, enslavement: JLR chief

Jaguar Land Rover will offer electrified versions of all its new vehicle lines from 2020, following in the track of other carmakers, who are making the shift as the global policy landscape shifts away from the internal combustion engine. “Every new Jaguar Land Rover model will be electrified from 2020, giving our customers even more choice,” said CEO Ralf Spheth speaking at an event in central London in which the company set out its vision for the sector and the company. Ranges will be available in fully electric, plug-in hybrid and mild hybrid versions, with the first fully electric Jaguar I-PACE going on sale next year.

A prototype of the I-PACE was on display at the exhibition, alongside an electrified version of the iconic E-PACE.

The company, Britain’s largest car manufacturer, unveiled its vision for the Jaguar FUTURE-TYPE, which provided a glimpse of the technology possibilities in 2040, including through a virtual reality display at the Tech Fest. Also on display was a model of Sayer, an artificially intelligent, voice activated steering wheel capable of acting as a personal assistant, planning journeys and a person’s day — taking over the role that smart phones have had in many areas of life today.

‘Predicting ill-health’

“Sayers know what’s in your fridge and can even order your shopping or a pizza,” said JLR. The company envisions the wheel being, in some cases, the only part of the car a person might own in the future — with the rise of on-demand service clubs, such as Lyft, into which it recently invested $25 million.

Future uses of such technology could include vehicles playing a greater part in people’s health, picking up signs of ill health and even making doctors’ appointments, Mr. Speth suggested during his key note address at the Tech Fest 2017.

The world was on the verge of a “mobility revolution,” said Mr. Speth, who has been pushing the company towards an autonomous, connected and electric future, as he pointed to the challenges and opportunities that the changes would bring. “Enormous social and health benefits, an end to congestion, zero accidents, no more tailpipe pollution, and clean air,” had to be pitted against questions about employment of those in sectors such as haulage, or the impact of the switch to electric cars on the economies of oil-producing nations, and as vehicles took on more and more roles — “cars with more coding than a NASA space rocket” — it would raise major questions about privacy and freedom.

“The very connectivity that could liberate us with autonomous vehicles could become a method of insecurity and enslavement if not properly managed,” he warned. “This mobility revolution will change lives profoundly.”

JLR’s move towards electrification follows in the steps of others in the sector, including Volvo, which from 2019 onwards won’t launch new models just powered by the internal combustion engine. While Norway plans to phase out new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2025 via a green tax system, France will end the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040, as will Britain (though Scotland plans to do so by 2032).

Mr. Speth called on the British government to match the industry’s ambitions. “We, as a company, can deliver electric vehicles. Where is the network of charging points that they will require to function?

Indeed where is the power grid that allows us to build them?... We know of the 5G network the rest of the world is working upon to enable it. Where is it here?”



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