Battery-electric powertrains will change forever the way cars are designed, says Jaguar design chief Ian Callum.
“Electrification will kickstart the biggest change in automotive design in history,” he told British media. “Car design will change more in the next 15 years than it has in the past 100.”
Electric powertrains offer huge opportunities for designers and stylists, especially in terms of the space for occupants, he said.
“By removing so much of the mechanical hardware and placing the batteries in the floorplan you open up all sorts of possibilities with packaging.
“The question is whether you make the cars smaller, but with the same interior space, or keep the cars the same size and offer more space – or perhaps both.”
Electric cars were an opportunity “we must embrace,” he said, “because we have choice as an industry to either be considered part of the problem of global warming or to be part of the solution.”
Callum wouldn’t comment on reports that Jaguar will introduce the first of its all-electric range in 2018, although he said an electric Jaguar would suit the brand. The company has already patented the EV-Type name.
“You have to move with the times and design for the opportunities,” he said. “Look at the C-X75 concept – that was a car that was designed for an alternative powertrain, and nobody had any complaints about how that looked.
“It just so happened we later fitted a conventional powertrain in the car – but it was designed entirely around an electrified hybrid powertrain”
To prepare for electric road car production, Jaguar is entering the 2016-17 Formula E electric car racing championships. It will begin testing its car in July/August, a month before the first race in September, in Montreal, Canada.