Jaguar is the first luxury brand to confirm its lengthy limousine, the XJ, will drop petrol power altogether and replace it with electric motors.
It means the ride of choice for some royals, including Princes William and Harry, could glide along almost silently while using no fuel.
Jaguar last week produced its last XJ powered by a regular engine, confirming the next model will make a radical electric change.
The XJ will become the first all-electric car to be produced at the Castle Bromwich production line that will undergo an “extensive transformation” to prepare it for manufacturing a new breed of Jaguar electric cars.
“The future of mobility is electric and, as a visionary British company, we are committed to making our next generation of zero-emission vehicles in the UK,” said Jaguar Land Rover CEO Professor Doctor Ralf Speth in a statement. “We are co-locating our electric vehicle manufacture, electronic drive units and battery assembly to create a powerhouse of electrification in the Midlands.”
While shifting away from petrol propulsion for such a traditional vehicle may seem counter intuitive, in many ways it makes sense.
Limousines typically cost upwards of $200,000, so the hefty price premium that typically cripples sales of electric vehicles doesn’t have quite the same sticker shock and can be more easily absorbed within the price tag.
Plus, most limos have very specific usage patterns. While limousines are perfectly suited to high speed interstate runs, the reality is most are confined to major cities, where they shuttle wealthy owners to the golf club or airport.
And even most limousines used for hire car services would be unlikely to surpass the circa-500km range between charges such a vehicle is likely to have.
Besides, there’s an argument Jaguar needed to try something. The XJ has never come close to challenging the rival Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7-Series in terms of sales.
By differentiating the offering — and likely beating competitors to the punch — Jaguar could appeal to buyers who otherwise may never have gone British.
But Prof Speth acknowledges there are challenges for electric cars.
“Convenience and affordability are the two key enablers to drive the uptake of electric vehicles to the levels that we all need,” he said, confirming battery production for the new model would be done in the UK.