The suggestion is that Jaguar has progressed at least two design approaches: one in the short-nosed electric/mid-engined format Callum prefers and another with a longer bonnet to accommodate front-mounted internal combustion engines (ICE), including a hybridised V8.
“For an electric sports car,” he added, “you could make a shape like [the C-X75] with the batteries in a T or H-shape through the middle. Or you could make it as a longitudinal internal-combustion mid-engined car. It would be short enough. So the style won’t dictate the drivetrain, but the drivetrain may dictate the style.”
The current F-Type is still set to be on sale for another three years with a round of updates to bring it into line with newer competitors. But Callum confirmed in April that the development cycle for its successor would have to begin “soon”.
One of many stumbling blocks to developing the new sports car is the platform itself, which – if to be designed from scratch and bespoke to the model – would require lots of cash and resources at an uncertain time for Jaguar Land Rover. The company lost £395 million in the last financial quarter and hopes models such as the updated Jaguar XE, new Range Rover Evoque and heavily revised Land Rover Discovery Sport can offset significant recent investments and a slump in demand from China.
One cost-effective solution is to again join forces with BMW. The British and German makers recently announced they would develop and assemble electric drive units for future models together, but already sources suggest BMW will supply combustion engines to JLR too. As previously revealed by Autocar, JLR may also use BMW’s FAAR front-driven platform for a range of compact models, including Land Rover SUVs.
BMW bosses are said to be deciding whether to turn the next-generation i8 into a fully electric sports car. Prototypes of such a model have already undergone testing, according to a Munich-based engineering source. By sharing development of an EV sports car platform, BMW and JLR could considerably reduce costs while at the same time pooling engineering expertise and resources.
Another alternative is to make use of Jaguar’s well-proven electric car platform used in the I-Pace. This would require investment to adapt it for a different purpose, but EV platforms tend to be easier to modify to suit different bodystyles and drive configurations than ICE ones.