Keeping in line with his philosophy of not "putting exciting projects on the backburner," Ratan Tata, the owner of Jaguar, has reportedly thrown his support behind a two-seat roadster speculatively called the Jaguar XE that will receive a Chevrolet Volt-like range-extending powertrain.
Motor Trend claims to have learned that the XE may be unveiled farther into the future than its planned 2011 Geneva auto show debut because it will be equipped with an electric motor tied to a range-extending three-cylinder gasoline engine. In the Chevrolet Volt's powertrain, dubbed Voltec, a battery provides power to an electric motor which drives the vehicle.
The Voltec system uses a small four-cylinder engine that kicks on to recharge the battery after 40 miles of driving, extending the range of the vehicle. But the engine can only sustain a certain charge level in the battery - to fully recharge the battery, the vehicle must be plugged in to another power source, like a household outlet.
It is expected that the XE will also get Jaguar's conventional 5.0-liter V-8, along with its supercharged variant. Whether the electric XE makes it past the concept stage or not will probably depend heavily on how vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt are received.
An electric XJ was also rumored to debut in 2011, following the reveal of the all-new XJ this year; it is unclear at this time if the XE electric car would be in addition to or in place of the electric XJ. Jaguar has already started working in collaboration with British transmission specialist Torotrak to develop a mechanical hybrid.
Source: Motor Trend