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Car and Driver: Jaguar’s Planned EV Sedan and SUV May Help Company Leap Back to Relevance

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Jaguar Concept_e EV Research VehicleA few years ago, when the Tesla Model S debuted, many likened it to a Jaguar in styling and stance. Now the brand from Coventry could be poised to fully embrace the EV with some true volume models—ones that, not surprisingly, would almost directly take on the Model S and Model X.

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Automobile reports that the new sedan model, code-named X590, will be a large four-door fastback, while a companion electric SUV model also is being developed. Both vehicles could arrive as soon as 2019. And in a regulatory environment that’s ratcheting up to favor EVs, they can’t arrive soon enough. With the higher fines for federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy rules, as well as a mid-term review underway for California’s ZEV rules underway (and another major step-up in the rules scheduled for 2018), it’s increasingly in an automaker’s interest to have a volume EV or two in the lineup.

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The completely new electrified platform that underpins these models may have been presaged by the Concept_e BEV that the automaker has shown with an 85-kW motor for the front wheels and a 145-kW motor in back, and which is being developed by former BMW engineer Wolfgang Ziebart.

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The new fastback is said to compromise the wants of Jaguar Land Rover CEO Ralf Speth and Jaguar design chief Ian Callum, while the SUV version, originally intended for Land Rover, also would go to the feline brand. Last year, Jaguar Land Rover announced that it would double the size of its Coventry, England, engineering and design center, which it is using as a base for developing electric powertrains.

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Jaguar hasn’t completely stood on the sidelines of the EV movement; it’s teased us with the C-X75 supercar concept, a car that proved to be an inspiring drive in prototype form, but it was canceled. We’ve reached out for comment from Jaguar Land Rover U.S. but haven’t yet received a confirmation or further details.

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As we’ve reported previously, Jaguar also was reportedly considering an electric version of the F-Pace, and it’s unclear whether this is would be the same model or not. The brand also may have put its larger SUV, called J-Pace, on hold in favor of these new models, which are likely to be built by Austria’s Magna Steyr.

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Jaguar sold fewer cars than Tesla this past year in the U.S. For the company, which continues to surge on the Land Rover side but sputter on the Jaguar side of its business, going electric might be the best choice Jaguar makes.

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