The version we've been hoping for is coming.
If you're looking for a purist off-road SUV with a timeless design and general cool factor, look no further than the Ineos Grenadier. Carrying on the spirit of the original Land Rover Defender, the rugged-looking, French-built Grenadier is slated to arrive stateside later this year with a starting price tag of around $64,000 - $18k more than the reborn Defender. Order books are expected to begin soon. But that's not the most interesting piece of Grenadier news right now.
According to Automotive News Europe, Ineos is seriously considering a fully electrified version of the Grenadier. A final decision has to be made as a number of issues still need to be figured out. "Right now, that will probably add a ton of weight, but the battery tech is changing. We do not know where the market is going," said Ineos commercial director Mark Tennant.
The Grenadier will initially come powered by a BMW-sourced 3.0-liter straight-six that's been calibrated specifically for gasoline and diesel variants. It'll be paired to a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission with standard electronically controlled torque converters. Until the EV variant arrives, Ineos intends to build a hydrogen-powered Grenadier that'll initially start off as a concept. Both on- and off-road testing will soon be underway. The hydrogen fuel cell setup will be good for meeting strict C02 emissions standards, especially in Europe, as well as for how the SUV handles.
"For the Grenadier, hydrogen fuel cell is a better way to fuel an electric vehicle because of its lower weight and greater capability," said Ineos CEO Dirk Heilmann. "The weight of batteries cuts into the payload for the commercial variants. If you want to move loads it's a bit of a problem."
However, a fuel cell variant isn't expected before 2027. Even though Ineos is a small car company, it still must abide by C02 reduction targets within the EU bloc. It can currently sell up to 22,000 commercial vehicles and 10,000 cars annually under the EU's small-volume special rule exemption. What Ineos won't be doing is a plug-in hybrid variant.
There's no exact timeframe for when we'll see an electric Grenadier but it makes sense for Ineos to lay the initial groundwork as electric trucks will soon be an essential industry segment.