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Jaguar Land Rover & BMW to work on electric cars

Wednesday, 12th June, 2019 4:18pm

Jaguar Land Rover and BMW have announced that they will collaborate on the development of future electric and plugin-hybrid vehicles.

The announcement comes just weeks since Jaguar Land Rover’s John Cormican, the man in charge of its software and autonomous driving lab in Shannon, told The Cork Independent that collaboration and co-operation was going to be crucial to the survival of car companies, as they seek to make the huge investments needed for the next generation of high-tech vehicles.

Both BMW and Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) say that they share the same vision of creating environmentally-friendly, but still high-performance, electric powertrains. The deal will allow JLR access to BMW’s eDrive and iPerformance technology, which has been in development for more than a decade now.

Equally BMW will get access to what many see as ground-breaking technology that Jaguar deployed to create its multi-award-winning I-Pace electric crossover.

The news of the deal will come as no little succour to JLR, which has been struggling of late with a dire combination of falling sales (worst of all in China, previously its biggest and most profitable market) and the need to pivot from a recent major investment in making its own diesel and petrol engine lineup, to pumping cash into electrified powertrains.

Although the I-Pace has won plaudits, JLR is perceived as being behind the curve when it comes to the development of plugin-hybrids and more affordable electric models.

JLR has also had to contend, in recent weeks, with repeated rumours that it was considering a merger with PSA Peugeot Citroen, rumours consistently denied by both JLR and Tata, the Indian conglomerate that owns the car maker.

The BMW deal won’t make those rumours go away entirely (it’s a co-operation, not a merger and PSA Group has also shared engines and technology with BMW in the past) but it might quieten things down a bit.

“The automotive industry is undergoing a steep transformation. We see collaboration as a key for success, also in the field of electrification. With Jaguar Land Rover, we found a partner whose requirements for the future generation of electric drive units significantly match ours. Together, we have the opportunity to cater more effectively for customer needs by shortening development time and bringing vehicles and state-of-the-art technologies more rapidly to market,” said Klaus Fröhlich, BMW’s head of development.

BMW has already confirmed that it will share its Generation 5 electric powertrain (to be introduced later this year in the iX3) with Jaguar Land Rover.

The first vehicle that’s likely to benefit from such tech will be a replacement for the ageing XJ luxury saloon. The current XJ ends production this year, and its replacement is likely to be a large, all-electric luxury car with a quasi-crossover body. Think bigger I-Pace and you probably won’t be far wrong.

As with BMW’s collaboration with Toyota (on the Supra and Z4 sports cars) this probably won’t be about badge-engineering, but more about saving costs on hidden, common components.

According to the statement, a joint team of BMW Group and Jaguar Land Rover experts located in Munich will be tasked with further developing the Generation 5 power units with production of the electric drivetrains to be undertaken by each partner in their own factories. Both companies will seek to adhere to their own brand-specific propositions in any project. BMW claims that the Generation 5 electric motor does not require the use of ‘rare earth’ metals, which potentially makes it even more environmentally-friendly.

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