Cancelled: Electric Jaguar XJ project axed

The upcoming replacement for the Jaguar XJ, which was to transform into a fully electric saloon, has been axed, company bosses have confirmed.

The upcoming replacement for the Jaguar XJ, which was to transform into a fully electric saloon, has been axed, company bosses have confirmed.

The shock announcement came as Jaguar Land Rover confirmed that it would become a fully electric car brand by 2025, launching six EVs in that time frame. However, the highly anticipated XJ, due to be revealed at the end of this year, will not be one of them.

An official statement read: “Although the nameplate may be retained, the planned Jaguar XJ replacement will not form part of the line-up, as the brand looks to realise its unique potential.”

For a project to be called off so close to its official launch date, as all design and engineering work on the XJ had been complete, is highly unusual. Prototypes had been built and on-road testing had already commenced.

Automotive Daily spoke to Jaguar’s design director Julian Thompson only last year, who revealed that the project was in its latter stages. “It’s going to be a very, very luxurious, very, very calm, tranquil piece of transportation,” he said. “But it’s not overtly flashy, it’s not overly expensive.

“It’s a car which you make an emotional connection with. We don’t want all our people who get our cars to just sit in the back of them and just be driven around in them. They can be used like that, but at the end of the day, we know that these cars are there to be experienced and driven and enjoyed; enjoyable to sit in, relaxing to sit in, and beautiful to look at.”

Our exclusive image shows how the new Jaguar XJ could have looked. Its styling was to be an evolution of the outgoing car’s, retaining the same long, wide stance and narrow headlamps units, as well as the company’s trademark radiator grille and shark fin antenna.

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Jaguar’s most recent teaser image suggested that the new XJ would also receive a sharper XF-inspired rear end, with a full-width light-bar. While the rear of the test mule was masked under heavy camouflage, a subtle crease running across the width of the bootlid suggested this feature would appear on the now axed production model.

The new XJ was also set to be a very different car to Jaguar’s first electric car, the I-Pace. Thomson suggested that the XJ would have a traditional saloon look with the classic long bonnet. “If a cab-forward looking car doesn’t suit a certain type of vehicle, I don’t think you should do it,” he said.

“We’re there to make the best looking cars we possibly can, so the new XJ, it does have a bonnet on it, and it’s a very, very elegant shape.” Thompson concluded, saying: “It’s probably a little bit more traditional than the I-Pace” – and this final statement certainly seems to be supported by the latest spy shots we saw the car.

The new XJ was to be made in the UK at JLR’s Castle Bromwich production site, which would have safeguarded thousands of jobs over the next few years.

Basing production of the all-electric XJ at Castle Bromwich made logistical sense to Jaguar Land Rover, as it offered easy access to the firm’s electric motor manufacturing centre in Wolverhampton.

However, unlike the I-Pace, which was built on a modified version of the F-Pace’s platform, the new XJ was to be based on Jaguar’s all-new MLA underpinnings. The platform can support, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and full electric powertrains, but Jaguar had only intended to develop an electric XJ before the project was axed.

Jaguar is still aiming to implement “giga-scale” battery production to support its new EV projects, with a new UK-based plant in Hams Hall, North Warwickshire. The facility will be fully operational later this year and aims to produce enough batteries to supply 150,000 electric Jaguar Land Rover models each year.

Britain’s biggest car maker has suffered a series of setbacks in recent years – and has been forced to axe jobs and investment opportunities to boost profits amid dwindling sales. The company’s declining sales figures are due, at least in part, to JLR’s reliance on diesel, which has fallen out of favour with consumers.

This new announcement that the firm is moving towards electrification – and with Jaguar set to become an EV-only brand – should reduce the company’s dependence on diesel.

Luke Wilkinson

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