Jaguar's early entry into electric vehicles with the I-Pace gave it an opportunity to create a stand-out design before EVs start to look very similar, the brand's design chief, Ian Callum, said.
Jaguar will continue to press its design advantage by developing more electric cars, Callum told the Automotive News Europe Congress.
"There is certainly an opportunity in the near-future and mid-future because ultimately electric cars will look very similar since their underpinnings are very similar," the executive said.
Electric cars are liberated from the traditional format of an engine in the front, transmission in the middle and driveshaft at the rear. "You have to package the electric motor, invertor and the battery but they are joined by wires and not bits of metal so there are opportunities," Callum said.
For example, the lack of an engine means the occupants can be moved further toward the front to give the car a more cab-forward look similar to midengined supercars.
The differentiation that allows the I-Pace to stand out will not last long because designs inevitably will be dictated by the battery layout, Callum said. The I-Pace's so-called "skateboard" platform with the batteries packaged in a relatively thick floor required the wheels to be pushed to the edges of the car.
In the future, EV wheelbases will get longer to accommodate more batteries. "We know that because we are doing more of them [EVs]," Callum said, without being specific.
The thickness of the battery pack also partly dictated the I-Pace's body style. "We picked an SUV because we have 125mm to 130mm of battery," he said.
Much of the freedom Callum had when designing the car was because neither the model or segment existed previously. "If this had existed I would have had the dimensions given to me," he said.