Ineos Puts Electric Fusilier Off-Roader on Ice Amid Weak Demand and Tariff Hell

The Fusilier is poised as a smaller, electric alternative to the Grenadier, with an optional range extender.
Ineos

Ineos is delaying the release of its fully-electric SUV, the Fusilier, due to uncertainty around tariffs and weakening demand for EVs. The small automaker from the U.K. had positioned the Fusilier as a more compact, fully-electric counterpart to the Grenadier, which was released in 2023 to fill the void left in the market by the original Land Rover Defender. Ineos partnered with Magna-Steyr to legitimize the production of its Defender tribute, and that partnership was supposed to continue for development of the Fusilier, planned to begin in 2027. But the Fusilier EV has now been delayed indefinitely without a new timeline slated for production, according to Bloomberg.

The reasons for the Fusilier EV delay are twofold, but more or less come down to the same hurdles that EVs are facing around the world. Many major countries are grappling with how to levy taxes on Chinese-made components that dominate the EV supply chain, and buyers are reportedly not as eager as automakers thought (or hoped) they would be to go fully electric. The Fusilier would have likely relied on some Chinese production or sourcing for its electric drivetrain, meaning it would have been affected by ongoing trade disputes. Ineos explained to Bloomberg, “We are delaying the launch of the Ineos Fusilier for two reasons: reluctant consumer uptake of EVs, and industry uncertainty around tariffs, timings and taxation […] There needs to be long-term clarity from policymakers.”

Reveal of Ineos Fusilier, The Grenadier, Knightsbridge, London February 23, 2024
Ineos

The “clarity” Ineos mentioned is in reference to possible changes to U.K. emissions regulations. Even though Ineos planned to make a battery-only version of the Fusilier, the automaker also planned to make a version with a range extender. But, depending on how the U.K.’s general election goes on Thursday, a range extender model could be obsolete by 2030. The Labour Party has proposed banning gas engines by 2030, and if the party wins the general election as it’s widely favored to do, those rules could soon go into effect. This casts a shadow on the future of a range-extender Fusilier, which would employ a small internal-combusion engine to keep the EV’s battery charged.

British politics aside, any Fusilier model with such an engine could be banned in Europe and the U.K. by 2035, so the SUV is facing an uncertain future. The delay comes despite the billionaire owner of Ineos, Jim Ratcliffe, promising earlier this year that he was “fully in” on low-emissions vehicles. Bloomberg says the petrochemical mogul has lately been struggling with higher borrowing costs to keep his businesses running, including the small automaker.

Reveal of Ineos Fusilier, The Grenadier, Knightsbridge, London February 23, 2024
Ineos