Jaguar Land Rover unveils electric car with 500-km range

Jaguar Land Rover, Britain's biggest car manufacturer, has unveiled a battery-powered electric car with a range of 500 km, which could take the luxury car maker to the new renewable energy- based luxury car segment.

The carmaker, which recently announced an autodrive project along with Ford and Tata Motors to test connected cars, on Monday showed off the electric car I-Pace, an SUV based on the Jaguar F-Pace, at the Los Angeles Motor Show.

The new vehicle that will be in the crossover segment - combining SUV and passenger car qualities - will go on sale in 2018. The company, however, refused to comment on when an announcement could be expected.

JLR produces more than 500,000 cars in the UK each year and 80 per cent of those are exported.

JLR started developing electric car technology last year, essentially for Formula E electric car championship, giving rise to speculation that it would lead developing electricity-powered passenger vehicles as well.

While JLR hasn't provided any detail on when it will be rolling out electric cars, tighter emission rules require auto makers to shape up as EU regulations require JLR and other carmakers cut emissions of its fleet by 45 per cent by 2020, compared with the 2007 level.

Like JLR, carmakers such as Audi and Mercedes are developing comparable vehicles to be launched by 2018 or 2019.

Toyota too has been eyeing electric vehicles. According to the Nikkei newspaper, Toyota would be selling its first long-range EV in 2020, although Toyota hasn't publicly committed to a time scale.

Last week, Toyota's executive vice-president said: "The answer to Toyota's ultimate eco-car is clearly the fuel-cell vehicle and our view has not changed. But just as we have a full line-up in terms of vehicle types and geographical reach, eco-cars are no exception. We want to have a system in place that would enable us to consider the launch of an electric vehicle."

Rival Volkswagen is to increase the share of electric cars in total sales to a quarter by 2025. Sales of electric cars were up 57 per cent to 285,000 worldwide and the total number of electric cars on road has grown to more than a million, say reports.

At present, electric vehicles or the ''alternatively fuelled vehicles'' make up just 3.3 per cent of new car sales in the  UK, with 2.6m vehicles registered in 2015.

The EU is encouraging companies to invest in cleaner technology, thus offering leeway for electric car makers.