Technically anything is possible.
At this point, any automaker that is not embracing full electrification technology is in trouble. While the general public has not yet entirely warmed up to the idea of trading in internal combustion for battery power, it’s only a matter of time until this happens. Remember, major changes are historically not enacted by the masses but rather by a limited few with the power and money to make it happen.
But what about brands such as Land Rover whose general focus is off-road? We have yet to see a fully-electric off-roader built by a mainstream automaker. Could Land Rover be the first? And would that vehicle even still be a real Land Rover?
Autocar recently chatted with Jaguar Land Rover engineering boss Nick Rogers who said that electrification “absolutely fits” with the brand’s models and off-road characteristics. How so? Basically, electronics enable for more precise control over rough terrain and surfaces. There’s also that extra power and instant torque that’ll be very helpful in precisely those situations. The big issue that Land Rover and other off-road focused brands need to resolve is general packaging. Issues such as weight reduction and how power is delivered to the wheels need to be resolved.
For example, would it be best to have an electric motor at each wheel or just the front and rear axle? How best to offset the weight of the heavy battery pack with the right blend of build materials such as aluminum, high-strength steel, and carbon fiber?
All of this is technically doable right now, more or less, but the best application strategy needs to be worked out. And then there’s the issue of pricing. Like Porsche and its upcoming Taycan, Land Rover can’t allow the price tag of an all-electric SUV to differ much than that of a conventional SUV. But unlike Porsche and its parent company VW Group, JLR may not be able to afford to absorb the added production costs. Otherwise, those costs will be passed down to the consumer, and that’s never a good thing.