C-X75 Is Killed, But Plug-in Hybrids Are Alive at Jaguar
The Jaguar C-X75 plug-in hybrid supercar concept was the star of the 2010 Paris motor show. It was unveiled with a twin turbine set-up, but we learned later that the production model would get a super high revving four-cylinder engine. Its top speed would be over 200 miles per hour while fuel consumption would be better than a Prius in normal driving. And all that with a 30-mile range on battery power. It's a dream come true, but it will remain just a dream. Jaguar announced last week it had cancelled its plans to turn its great concept into a production model.
The reason is economics. World outlook for super high-end cars like the C-X75 does not look very promising. Porsche does not share that pessimism however, and it will definitely build the 718 Spyder. It's a sad ending for the Jaguar supercar, and even more so because the car was at a pretty advanced stage. So advanced in fact, that the project isn't completely killed. Jaguar will build a couple C-X75 for upcoming demonstration purposes, and at least one other one will go to a museum.
Fortunately, Jaguar-Landrover has other hybrid plans. We will have news regarding a hybrid Range Rover next year, and then there is the plug-in hybrid Jaguar XJ prototype. This is a very interesting car. The Jaguar XJ is available with a gas V8 or a turbo-diesel V6, but four out of five customers go for the diesel in Europe. It's a great car. The engine runs just below 2,000 RPM at 80 mph, and it can drive more than 600 miles at that speed. But it could be even greater if it could drive emission free in the city.
Jaguar engineers thought so much about it that they built a car that can do it. This is the Jaguar XJ_e. It was shown at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, then at the Future Car Challenge in Brighton. It is an experimental car but this is a fully functioning automobile. Its gas engine is a 240-hp 2-liter inline-4. This is a slightly modified Ford Ecoboost engine (Jaguar doesn't build four cylinders). The engine sits next to a 69-kW electric motor that gets its power from a 12.8 kWh battery pack.
The range in all-electric mode is a modest 25 miles. Long range was clearly not a priority here. The gas engine and the electric motor are in a parallel hybrid configuration, meaning the car can drive on either one or both altogether with the goal of long range in hybrid mode. It must be as good as the diesel (650 miles) and Jaguar says it is, with possibly more refinement from a smoother hybrid drivetrain.
Performance is also equal with a 0 to 62-mph acceleration in less than 6.5 seconds, while top speed is 150 mph, only marginally slower than the diesel which can do at 155 mph.
We don't know what's next since Jaguar has clearly stated that this XJ_e was an experimental car, but Jaguar must have seen that the car raised a lot of interest. Customers would not accept any compromise on the car's cross-country abilities, but in London or Amsterdam, there are quite a few CEOs who would enjoy emission free driving for their inner-city commuting. Jaguar cancelled its plans for the C-X75 at the last minute, and the business plan for a plug-in hybrid XJ looks much better. All the specs may change, but it's a safe bet that there will be a plug-in hybrid Jaguar in the future.
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