JLR engineering czar Ziebart details British brand's CO2-cutting revamp

Ziebart: "We don't need completely new inventions. The technology to meet the [CO2] targets is available."

Jaguar Land Rover's head of product development, Wolfgang Ziebart, is guiding the rapid expansion of the Land Rover and Jaguar ranges. The former BMW product development chief shared details of the company's plans to expand its vehicle and engine lineups, while reducing CO2 emissions. He spoke with Automotive News Europe UK Correspondent Nick Gibbs.

How difficult will it be for Jaguar Land Rover to reach average CO2 emissions of 132g/km in Europe by 2020?

We don't need completely new inventions. The technology to meet the targets is available. For 2020, it will be very much about selecting which technical solutions are appropriate so that the targets are met, but at a cost that's within certain limits.

One analyst estimate said JLR could spend $1.1 billion a year by 2020 to hit global CO2 targets.

We're not going to spend more than other manufacturers. No one manufacturer has a particular advantage over the other. It will be challenging for larger vehicles, but it's also challenging for smaller vehicles in that they have less freedom to maneuver in terms of which technology you can bring.

JLR will launch more hybrids as well as its first plug-in hybrids. When will we see them?

We can’t talk about specific dates, but you can expect progress along the route we started with the current hybrid electric [system used in the Range Rover Hybrid and Range Rover Sport Hybrid with the SDV6 diesel]. The share of electric power will increase and the combustion will be downsized so that you have more opportunity to drive electrically.

Will you go full electric with any car?

The market is in two areas. The first one being inner-city urban transportation. That’s less a market for us. The second is as a second or third car for a wealthy family. This is more a market for us. Here we see some Range Rover owners or owners of high-end Jaguars as potentially being attracted to electric vehicles. That is why we are carefully monitoring how this market develops.

If it’s a second or third car then it’s usually smaller, right?

The Tesla is not a small vehicle. It’s a 5-meter car. It’s XJ size. The demand is different all over the world. Europe would like to have an electric car that is small, like the BMW i3 or below. Whereas the U.S. and China would prefer a larger car, and the Tesla direction clearly shows this.

The Jaguar XE sedan will be revealed this month with a range of new JLR engines. JLR also still gets engines from Ford. At what point will JLR become self-sufficient in engines?

The question is whether this is desirable at all. I could see that the market for eight cylinders becomes so small that it doesn’t make sense for one individual automaker to do its own. Also, if we have a demand for very low-end engines, for example for legal requirements for small displacement in a certain country, we will continue to be open to buying these engines from others.

Meet the r&d boss
NAME: Wolfgang Ziebart
TITLE: Head of product development, Jaguar Land Rover
AGE: 64
MAIN CHALLENGE: Ensure all-new engines and architectures for Jaguar and Land Rover's rapidly expanding ranges keep pace with German rivals while delivering significantly lower CO2 emissions.

Will the modular Ingenium engine range allow flexibility in the number of cylinders?

We’ve introduced the four-cylinder diesel engine mid-spec and also as a high-spec with two turbos. Then a [four-cylinder] gasoline will come. I could see a 4.0-liter eight-cylinder engine. That is what BMW is doing with 500cc per cylinder. We could do a three-cylinder, but that has not been determined yet. In general the engine platform is modular. As long there is at least one cylinder you can do anything.

Do your r&d budgets match those of your German premium rivals?

We don’t have similar budgets. Our vehicle offering is not as broad as some of our competitors, this then naturally reduces the effort we have to take. We are smaller and faster. Something executed in a large company costs significantly more than something executed in our company. I am absolutely not concerned that we would get into a position in which we could not afford a certain technology.


Will JLR have to form a partnership to continue growing or will you strive to remain independent?

Everybody talks about partnerships and the need to grow, so maybe. So far we see that the program we intend to execute can be executed on our own.

This story is from the current issue of the Automotive News Europe monthly e-magazine, which is also available to read on our iPhone and iPad apps.You can download the new issue as well as past issues by clicking here.

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