Jaguar has unveiled the Future-Type concept and announced that all Jaguar Land Rover cars will be electrified in some way by 2020.
Speaking at a technology event organised by JLR in London, company CEO Dr Ralf Speth announced that a “portfolio of electrified products” will be introduced across the model range, embracing fully electric, plug-in hybrid and mild hybrid vehicles. “Our first fully electric performance SUV, the Jaguar I-PACE, goes on sale next year,” Speth confirmed.
The Future-Type concept is a narrow-bodied fully autonomous vehicle with what is described as 2+1 ‘social’ seating – the idea being that if a user wishes to for example talk to their child while taking them to school, they can use the two seats and let the car take charge of the journey.
Live-at-home steering wheel
Technological highlight of the Future-Type is what JLR dubs the first intelligent and connected steering wheel, called Sayer after the designer of the iconic Jaguar E-Type. Designed to live in the home, the wheel boasts voice-activated artificial intelligence (AI) technology and can carry out a wide range of tasks from summoning the car, playing music, booking restaurant tables or even checking the contents of the owner’s fridge.
While relaxing in their living room owners will be able to tell Sayer where they need to be the following day and at what time. and the system will work out when a car needs to autonomously arrive at the door – based on the time the owner normally gets up – and will also advise which parts of the journey the owner might enjoy driving themselves.
As a sign of its commitment to electric cars, JLR also displayed an EV version of the 1960s E-Type, dubbed the E-Type Zero. The car, a restored Series 1.5 Roadster, is completely original apart from its 220kW electric powertrain. This uses a lithium-ion battery pack with the same dimensions, and similar weight, to the XK six-cylinder engine used in the original E-type, with the motor mounted behind and the whole in exactly the same location as the original’s engine and transmission.