The British brand has been stumped by its homeland’s greatest export — the English language.
English is constantly evolving and now Jaguar Land Rover wants to bend it to its will.
The maker has petitioned the Oxford English Dictionary to change the definition of the word “car”.
The dictionary currently defines “car” as a road vehicle that is powered by an internal combustion engine and designed to carry a small number of passengers.
However, Jaguar says that its I-Pace electric SUV doesn’t meet this description and so can’t be considered a car.
Jaguar wants the definition to include other power sources such as electric motors.
David Brown, the head of Jaguar Land Rover’s naming committee, believes the word is outdated.
“A lot of time and thought is put into the name of any new vehicle or technology to ensure it is consumer friendly, so it’s surprising to see that the definition of the car is a little outdated,” says Brown.
“We are therefore inviting the Oxford English Dictionary and the Oxford Dictionaries to update its online classification to reflect the shift from traditional internal combustion engines (ICE) towards more sustainable powertrains.”
The all-wheel drive I-Pace, on sale in Australia since late last year, is a direct competitor to the Tesla Model X. Priced from $135,000, it has an electric motor on each axle with combined outputs of 295kW/696Nm.
The I-Pace was one of the first electric cars on sale in Australia. This year, it has been joined by numerous examples, including the Nissan Leaf and Hyundai Ioniq.
The long list of zero-emissions vehicles scheduled to land in showrooms over the next 12 to 18 months includes models from Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Volkswagen.
Whether Jaguar Land Rover can get the definition changed before the influx of electric cars is up to the dictionary compilers — who aren’t averse to additions, it seems.
Some of the dictionary’s 2019 additions include “bae” (a romantic partner), “noob” (someone new to a particular activity) and “schmoozefest” (a meeting involving a great deal of insincere or gossipy chat).