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The Future-Type: Jaguar's leap into the 2040s. (Image: JLR).

Jaguar reveals its 2040 future and electrifies the E-Type

There have been C-Type, D-Type, E-Type, F-Type and S-Type Jaguars—now the company has revealed a new arrival: the Future-Type.

A concept to demonstrate a design to meet the needs of autonomous, connected, electric and shared mobility (ACES), the Future-Type even has what Jaguar claims to be the “world’s first intelligent and connected steering wheel.”

Director of Design Ian Callum, speaking at the concept’s London unveiling during Jaguar Land Rover's recent Tech Fest exhibition, said the Future-Type is "part of our vision for how a luxury car brand could continue to be desirable in a more digital and autonomous age. An advanced research project, it is looking at how we can ensure an ‘on-demand’ Jaguar will appeal to customers in 2040 and beyond.”

The company, which will introduce the pure electric I-Pace SUV next year, has also announced that all Jaguar models will be electrified in some form from 2020.

Jaguar categorizes the Future-Type as a premium compact that an owner could “summon, fully charged, on demand.” A steering wheel, which could be kept at home when not in use on the car, is an important element in the Future-Type’s capability. Jaguar calls it the “Sayer,” named after D-Type designer Malcolm Sayer. It incorporates artificial intelligence, can respond to literally hundreds of commands, and is voice activated. On-demand delivery takes just a few words.

The Sayer also engages JLR with the Internet of Things. Callum is amused to explain that the system's capabilities can also include supplying details of the contents of the kitchen fridge, which is one better than the now clearly passé phrase, “including the kitchen sink.”

The Future-Type is narrow-bodied, with 2+1 face-to-face social seating capability. It could be used for ride sharing, with only ownership of the steering wheel (not the car) required. A bank of Future-Types could be available when requested. Different versions would also give a choice. The Future-Type has comprehensive V2V (vehicle-to-vehicle) communication capability.

Driver satisfaction being paramount for traveling in any Jaguar, the Future-Type offers choice between wholly autonomous and, via the Sayer, merely technologically-assisted transport. “We’ve been investigating how we can keep this emotional connection in a future world where people may choose not to own a car, or when a Jaguar is an autonomous, on-demand vehicle," noted Callum. "Our research shows there will be a place for luxury and premium experiences—and enjoying the drive.”

And as somewhat of a counterpoint to the new concept, JLR also announced the pure electric E-Type (XKE) Zero, based on the 1968 Series 1.5 roadster. Performance figures include a claimed 0-100 kph dash in 5.5 s—a second quicker than the original gasoline car. The technology demonstrator was engineered by Jaguar Land Rover Classic (JLRC) at a dedicated Classic Works facility.

For those owners who would want to do such things, the E-Type Zero technology could be retro-fitted to owners’ E-Types or to any Jaguar using an XK engine produced from 1949 (XK120) up to 1992 (XJ6). “Our aim with E-type Zero is to future-proof classic car ownership,” stated Tim Hannig, Director of JLRC. He confirmed that the company is investigating the concept’s market possibilities.

Power output has been limited to 220 kW (295 hp), he said. Achieving weight distribution plus level of ride and handling equal to that of the original E-Type has resulted in the powertrain being installed in the same position as that of the 6-cylinder gasoline engine. Its 40 kW·h lithium-ion battery pack has the same physical dimensions as the XK unit. The electric motor and reduction gear take the place of the original 4-speed gearbox. There is a new propshaft but both use carry-over differential and final drive.

Real world range of the E-Type Zero is quoted as 270 km (168 mi). Domestic recharge time is 6 to 7 h.

Externally, the car looks like a regular E-type roadster but the interior gets digital instrumentation, carbon fiber detailed dashboard and a rotary drive, neutral, reverse control instead of a stick shift. Headlights are upgraded using LEDs.

Suspension and brakes remain unchanged. Hannig adds that a regular XK engine could be reinstalled to return an electrified car to its original configuration.

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