Jaguar to build £700,000 hybrid supercar with Williams

By Jorn Madslien
Business reporter, BBC News, London

  • Published

Jaguar has unveiled plans to build a £700,000 ($1.15m) petrol-electric hybrid supercar in the UK.

It will build 250 cars in partnership with Formula 1 team Williams F1.

The C-X75's ultra-light chassis and two electric motors will help it accelerate from nought to 60mph in three seconds.

It will have an all-electric range of 50km and its overall emissions of less than 100g CO2 per kilometre will be one of the lowest in the industry.

The car will have a top speed of more than 200mph, while the hybrid engine will extend the car's range well beyond 50km.

The move is part of a £5bn investment plan, announced by Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) in March at the Geneva motor show, to launch 40 "significant new products" over the next five years.

Production of the C-X75 will create more than 100 highly-skilled jobs in the UK. These will be split between Jaguar and Williams, which is based in Grove in Oxfordshire.

The model will be built from 2013 until 2015, although it has not yet been decided where production will take place.

Jaguars are currently manufactured at Castle Bromwich, near Birmingham, although JLR's headquarters are in Warwickshire.

'Clear business case'

The car offers proof that if they are well-engineered, efficient cars with low CO2 emissions can also deliver high performance.

Image caption,
The partnership is part of Williams F1's plan to extend the number of business areas it operates in

This points to "a sustainable future, but not a boring future", said Carl-Peter Forster, chief executive of JLR's parent company Tata Motors.

As such, it marks a shift from the past when manufacturers would build high-performance flagship models to show off their capabilities to buyers of frugal, ordinary versions of the same cars.

The logic that anyone who can build a high-performance car should also be able to build good cars with small engines no longer holds, as there is a growing realisation that it is much more difficult to build a car that combines speed and handling with low fuel consumption.

"There is a clear business case for this exclusive halo model," Jaguar brand director Adrian Hallmark said.

Capabilities and skills

The car is central to the Indian-owned luxury car company JLR's plan to establish itself as a technology-inspired carmaker.

Image caption,
The C-X75 was first displayed in Paris in October with an experimental gas-powered jet engine

"It is a showcase of our capabilities and of the hi-tech engineering skills that exist within Jaguar and Williams F1," Mr Forster said.

"This is a showcase of what can be done in this country if we all pull together."

The partnership between JLR and Williams F1 is part of the Formula 1 team's plan to extend the number of business areas from which it earns revenue, following hot on the heels of rival McLaren's expansion into, among other things, road car production and GT3 racing.

"In recent years, hybrid technology has been an area of acute development in Formula 1," said Williams F1 chairman Adam Parr, insisting it is only one example of F1 technology that could prove useful in other industries.

Williams F1 is in the process of creating subsidiaries that will sell its technology to companies elsewhere in the motor industry, or even in other industries such as energy, aerospace or health.

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