LONDON (Reuters) - All new Jaguar Land Rover cars will be available in an electric or hybrid version from 2020, Britain’s biggest carmaker said on Thursday, as it speeds up plans to electrify its model range.
Last year, the company, owned by India’s Tata Motors (TAMO.NS), said it would offer greener versions of half of its new line-up by 2020, but it has now ramped up its plans.
Demand for electric models continues to rise sharply and in July Britain said it would ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2040 to cut pollution, replicating plans by France and cities such as Madrid, Mexico City and Athens.
Carmakers are racing to tap into growing demand for low-emissions models with Nissan (7201.T) launching a revamped version of its Leaf electric vehicle on Wednesday in a bid to better take on Tesla’s (TSLA.O) Model 3.
Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), which showcased its first electric model in 2016, said it would release a range of powertrain options over the coming years.
“We will introduce a portfolio of electrified products across our model range, embracing fully electric, plug-in hybrid and mild hybrid vehicles,” said Chief Executive Ralf Speth.
The automaker, which built nearly 550,000 of Britain’s 1.7 million cars last year, has said it wants to build electric models in its home market but a number of factors need to be in place first, including support from government and academia.
It will build its first electric model, the I-PACE, in Austria.
Like much of the British car industry, JLR is also worried that Brexit could leave its car exports facing lengthy customs delays and tariffs of up to 10 percent, risking the viability of production in Britain.
But as traditional carmakers battle with tech firms such as Google (GOOGL.O), and disruptive entrants including Tesla, JLR also unveiled its latest plans to tap into new and developing technologies.
At a ‘Tech Fest’ in London, the company is showcasing several autonomous and connected car gadgets including a steering wheel called ‘Sayer’ which will contain speech recognition software, enabling it to answer questions, connect to news, select entertainment and order food.
Editing by Mark Potter and Guy Faulconbridge