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Jaguar: Electric vehicles ‘too heavy, too slow’

Nobody wants an electric vehicle. That’s according to Jaguar Land Rover CEO Ralf Speth, who recently said: “Customers are not impressed.”

Speaking at the Automotive News Europe Congress in Birmingham in the UK, Speth also said the battery technologies associated with electric-only vehicls are “too heavy, too expensive” and the potential power density is “too low”.

Speth did, however, admit that “the next generation of batteries will be higher density, lower weight and the cost will come down”, but neglected to mention when he thinks this will happen.

The British firm does offer hybrid solutions in some vehicles such as the Range Rover, but the sentiment from its boss would suggest Jaguar is in no rush to progress any further, meaning an all-electric F-Type is unlikely to happen for some time – if ever.

There’s certainly some truth to Speth’s points. Electric cars are notoriously expensive so the payback time versus a petrol or diesel is commonly measured in years.

Not only that, most are hamstrung by a relatively limited range and there’s the issue of charging a car at home if you lack a garage. Unless you include the expensive but range-endowed Tesla Model S, which in dual motor form is faster than a Ferrari, has seven seats and emits zero CO2.

Electric cars have already become hugely popular in Norway and more than 5,000 plug-in grants were awarded between July and September 2014 – a large increase on the 17,000 registered in the UK at the time. 

Meanwhile the figure for Europe doubled to 50,000 in 2013. Even the US is getting on board, although recent figures suggest a decline of 20 per cent to 53,457 sales in May 2015 across the whole country, a decrease attributed to certain states stopping or reducing the financial incentives.

It’s worth noting there were 1,888 Tesla Model S sales in May 2015, compared with 1,204 Jaguar sales. Not directly comparable, admittedly, but worth throwing that figure out there.

The thing is, asking consumers what they want is always dangerous. A commenter on the Auto Blog report quoted Henry Ford: “If I’d have asked my customers what they wanted, they’d have said a faster horse.”

Is money the only barrier between you and an electric car? Is the combustion engine on its last legs? Let us know.

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