The first production-spec model in the new Road Rover range will be an all-electric luxury car for markets such as China and California, US. Meant to rival the Mercedes S-class in terms of amenity and equipment, the first Road Rover will also boast off-road capability. As the name implies, the model will also be tuned to perform well on-road by taking advantage of potential offered by the electric motors. The model may be reveled for the first time at the 2019 LA motor show, with a formal launch in early 2020. Over time, the Road Rover line-up is expected to develop into a series of more car-like and road-friendly, but still rugged, vehicles. Like the Velar nameplate, it was a trial model in the early 1950s that was planned as a bridge between Rover cars and the original Land Rover. A three-door estate concept was developed in the 1960s, which previewed the original Range Rover line-up.
In a 2015 interview with Director Magazine, McGovern said, “By 2020, there’s going to be 22 million SUV-type cars sold internationally. So that’s a massive market. We’re asking: what are the merchandises we could be generating that do not actually exist yet – like the Evoque, which we didn’t have in our portfolio before.” The result was the Velar. Speculation suggests that Land Rover is also development a Rolls-Royce Cullinan competing that will offer similar levels of opulence and a different body style. In 2014, Wolfgang Ziebart, the then group engineering director, hinted at JLR’s electrification plans, forecasting that the market for EVs was going to split into inner-city cars and a “second or third car for a wealthy family”. Ziebart suggested the latter segment had potential for JLR and that any EV would be the size of a “Jaguar XJ” and “aimed at the US and China”.
The new XJ sedan and the forthcoming Road Rover will be offered as electric-only models with identical electric motors and on-demand all-wheel drive. The Road Rover sedan is probable with S-class rivalling space and features, have a range of 480km, a claimed 0-96kph time of mere 5 seconds and height-adjustable suspension for a degree of all-terrain ability. Competitors such as Audi and Porsche are both coming out with EVs in the next two years. The Road Rover’s closest challenging at launch is probable to be the Audi E-tron Sportback, due in 2019, and boasting a 480km range on a single charge. The forthcoming model’s design is unidentified though it is likely to follow the Velar’s styling and have more of a shooting brake design. The new XJ, Road Rover and Jaguar I-Pace are part of JLR’s plan to meet stringent new Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) sales targets in California. While a new sub-brand for range-topping electric cars may be a risky move, there are a number of reasons why JLR bosses settled that an electric Range Rover was a stretch too far. First, the off-road ability of a Range Rover model can’t be cooperated and a fully electric vehicle with a heavy battery pack would have been a serious technical challenge, especially in terms of waterproofing the powertrain. Second, getting the best possible real-world range from a battery-powered car is vital, creation aerodynamic performance a critical part of the new model. The bonnet and face of the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport are too large to work efficiently as battery-powered vehicles. Indeed, the Tesla Model X is perhaps about as tall as any EV is likely to get.