Jaguar to Go All-Electric by 2025

Along with Jaguar going all-electric, parent company Jaguar Land Rover says that 60% of Land Rover sales will be electric by 2030.

UK - Cars - The Heritage Motor Centre in Gaydon
Jaguar car badge and hood ornament at the Heritage Motor Centre in Gaydon, Warwickshire, England, UK . Corbis via Getty Images / Getty Images

When Tesla first started making news, the company faced a lot of pushback from car enthusiasts — perhaps best exemplified by a questionable Top Gear episode that eventually ended up in court. Yet say what you will about Elon Musk, there is little question that electric cars have become not just a viable option, but an aspirational one for folks who enthuse about metal boxes with wheels on them.

That shift in attitude was evident last week when Jaguar announced that it would make a rapid transition to an all-electric luxury brand by 2025. Along with Jaguar going all-electric, parent company Jaguar Land Rover says that 60% of Land Rover sales will be electric by 2030. It is all part of a broader vision set out by Jaguar Land Rover, which also includes:

  • Six 100% electric Land Rover variants within the next five years.
  • All Jaguar and Land Rover nameplates (models) to be available in pure electric form by 2030.
  • Net-zero carbon emissions across the company’s supply chain, products, and operations by 2039.
  • Collaborations and knowledge-sharing within the wider Tata Group of which Jaguar Land Rover is a part.

Generally speaking, the announcement was met with enthusiasm among electrification advocates. There was, however, a caveat as Jaguar Land Rover also promised it would continue to invest in the latent hydrogen economy – something that many climate and cleantech folks view with skepticism:

Meanwhile, Ray Wills, managing director of cleantech consulting firm Future Smart Strategies, tells Treehugger that he predicts electrification will make Jaguar’s hydrogen hedge largely obsolete:

"As with all technology disruptions, the next 5 years of change in the car industry will be faster than the last 50. All announcements in 2021 will be escalated in 2022, just as has happened in the last 12 months. Physics, economics, Wright's law all weigh against hydrogen in transport, and already favours batteries – lithium batteries have the upper hand in the electrification of transport, and are already the 'go to' for most car makers. Hydrogen will only take off if lithium batteries don’t perform."

The other area of the plan that will be met with some skepticism is the promise of net-zero by 2039. Such pledges have proliferated in recent years, both from dyed-in-the-wool sustainability advocates like Patagonia and also fossil fuel behemoths like Shell – even as they plan on continuing oil production for decades to come. As such, climate activists are increasingly looking not at whether a company is committed to net-zero, but what that commitment actually entails. Meaning:

  • How much is direct emissions reduction, versus offsets?
  • If using offsets, what types of offsets – and what’s the guarantee they are actually making a difference?
  • What is the timeframe to get going? While a 2039 or 2050 goal may help set the course, what is most relevant in climate terms is how much is being done right now. 

As climate essayist Mary Annaïse Heglar likes to remind people on Twitter, “Net Zero is not Zero.” So the details of such pledges matter if they are to contribute anything meaningful at all. As such, the Jaguar Land Rover announcement was light on exactly how it would achieve its 2039 goal. Although according to Forbes, the company is planning on spending $3.5 billion (£2.5 billion) in pursuit of its goals, so it’s certainly not without some substance.

As usual, it also goes without saying that large, luxury cars are a resource-intensive and inefficient mode of transportation, whatever they are powered by. As cities around the world start restricting the presence of cars in their centers, we may find that cars in general, and large fast and expensive cars in particular, become less of a must-have status symbol.

Yet we’re not there yet. Within that context, any move by luxury car brands to signal that electrification is the future is likely to have ripple effects – not just in the auto industry itself, but in the wider worlds of investing and policy-making, too.