Chinese Arm of Jaguar Land Rover Commits to Sizable $1 Billion EV Investment

The money will go toward converting a Chery-JLR plant to produce electric vehicles and construction of an electric vehicle R&D center.

In this picture taken on October 26, 201
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The Chinese wing of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), Chery-JLR, signed an agreement Thursday to invest ¥7 billon RMB ($1 billion USD) in its manufacturing facility based in Changshu.

Chery's facility there is the only complete JLR vehicle plant outside the United Kingdom and has a maximum annual production capacity of 200,000 internal combustion-powered vehicles, according to China's Gasgoo. Its investment in the plant will modernize the body workshop and convert the plant into a new energy (electric, hydrogen, et cetera) powertrain manufacturing site. The plan will also add a research and development center for these powertrains, complete with a test track. According to Autocar, this facility will be the home for all of JLR's EV operations on completion, from conception to production.

JLR's success with electric vehicles has so far been mixed. Its I-Pace electric crossover was so good that it deprived The Drive's Mike Guy of sleep, but the vehicle also suffers from efficiency below expectations, suspected to either be a software-locked battery or inefficient electric motors. JLR's electric powertrain technology needs to mature before it can mount a serious challenge to premium electric automakers and industry leaders Tesla and Porsche as it reportedly hopes to do within a decade.

Its plan will reportedly involve a gradual elimination of internal combustion engines from its lineup, concluding with the termination of the J-Pace in 2027. Reports as to whether the next F-Type will retain its internal combustion powerplant for the entirety of its product cycle conflict; some allege it'll go electric with the rest, others that it will use a BMW-sourced V-8. Like the rest of the industry, electric power will be crucial to JLR's future, and its Changshu investment symbolizes its acknowledgment of that need.

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