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JLR dealerships to offer EV charging sites

Pace maker: The I-Pace will hit Australian JLR dealerships next year and the company is ensuring that it has changing stations available across its network.

EV charging infrastructure to cover 50-strong JLR dealer network

5 Jan 2018

JAGUAR Land Rover (JLR) Australia will switch on electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure across its 50-strong dealership network by late next year, which is a deadline timed around the debut of the plug-in Range Rover and Jaguar I-Pace.

The local division of the British car-maker has confirmed that it has signed up EV charging company JetCharge – which has promoted itself as the “preferred installer” for Audi, Porsche, Renault, Tesla and JLR products – to complete the rollout of the fast-charge plug-in stations at all metropolitan and rural dealers.

JLR Australia managing director Matthew Wiesner said that with plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) versions of the Range Rover Sport and Range Rover arriving in March 2018, and the I-Pace EV following in the third quarter, the time was right for a proper full-scale rollout of charging facilities to commence.

“We’ve had a tender process and have been working through that in the last few months,” he told GoAuto.

“So really we have just been going through the process and working with them (JetCharge) and other suppliers around what’s the best way forward, what’s an affordable way forward through the tender, and obviously to make sure they have the capability to deliver as well, which they seem to have.

“Also we need to make sure we meet these timeframes come next year when these vehicles start arriving. We’ve got to be ready for those three models, of course the (Range Rover) PHEVs are first in around the second quarter next year, to be then followed by I-Pace. We’re getting ready for the future of the whole electric vehicle space which includes PHEVs as well.”

Mr Wiesner confessed that some rural dealerships were concerned about the necessity of charging infrastructure in remote locations where EVs were expected to be less popular, but he insisted that all dealers had to be involved.

“Of course I-Pace in rural Australia won’t be the main focus, I think to be fair across the regional landscape (it will not be as popular),” he continued.

“Sometimes it’s challenging in the retail world to think about the impact of these things because it’s sometimes a little bit beyond the radar. It’s an industry thing, not just us, and of course they (rural dealers) debate the need to do these things.

“But when is the right time? Generally by then it’s too late, so the right time is to be ready for when we launch (the new products) so we’ve got that coverage. One of the big challenges as we head into the electric vehicle space is to make sure there is confidence that the network exists, the reach is there, that the technical capabilities are around the country and not just in a few locations in a couple of metropolitan cities.

“When you start electrifying your SUV range like we’re commencing with the PHEV versions of Range Rover Sport and Range Rover, then you’ve got to be ready for the reach that potentially you’re going to start to see and also as people (city buyers) get out of the urban areas.”

Next year’s facelifted Range Rover Sport and Range Rover will wear a P400e badge in PHEV form, mating a 221kW Ingenium 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine with an 85kW electric motor for a combined 297kW/640Nm. Both models have a claimed 51km of battery-only driving range and European combined-cycle fuel consumption of 2.8 litres per 100 kilometres.

The Jaguar I-Pace will follow with 294kW/700Nm from an electric motor being fed by a 90kWh battery pack that claims to deliver between 400km and 500km driving range between recharging. Mr Wiesner said to expect the I-Pace to be priced locally at under $150,000 when it arrives late next year.

He also confirmed that JLR had contributed financially to the EV charging installations in what he described as a sizeable cost to the network. This was also on top of plans to refresh the look and feel of several outlets, as well as ensuring several Land Rover-only outlets were now also selling Jaguar across the network for the first time.

“We’re involved, we have to be, it (EV charging) is a significant investment so we have to be in there making sure it’s done correctly to the plan, and we’re very mindful of the financial impact potentially in these early days of electric vehicles,” Mr Wiesner said.

“We’ve been gradually moving them (dealers) across or into both brands over the last 12 to 18 months, and it’s generally been timed around facility changes and investments and new appointments in markets where we haven’t been.

“Existing dealers that are going through various upgrades, currently some of them don’t have, quite frankly, the footprint and layout to do both (brands), so it just makes sense to wait until they go through that upgrade process to bring both brands into the mix.”

As previously reported, JLR Australia will take its dealer network from 43 to 52 outlets by 2019, with Sydney’s north-west a gap still to be filled, while rural areas such as Bunbury (Western Australia), Wagga Wagga (New South Wales) Ballarat and Shepparton (Victoria) have been confirmed to open.

JLR Australia has not yet finalised how buyers will be charged to use the dealer-based EV recharging network, nor whether the likes of the I-Pace will be sold with home recharging included or optional in the sale price.

“We’re still finalising the go-to-market bit on, say, I-Pace,” Mr Wiesner said.

“The PHEVs are different because they’re ICE (internal combustion engine) still, but for the I-Pace we need to be finalising that detail.

“Obviously we have servicing plans and warranties in the middle of all of that discussion, because given the nature of a full EV the whole servicing structure side of the business is quite different compared with the ICE stuff.

“We’re in the middle of making sure we cost that correctly, and then you still have all the other questions around how we approach the home charging piece, what is that offer when selling electric vehicles. Do you treat it as options? Do you treat it as part of the offering? There are still a number of things we’re still trying to work our way through.”

As previously revealed exclusively by GoAuto, Mr Wiesner was also the first managing director to reveal that discussions were taking place among premium manufacturers for a Tesla-rivaling national EV recharge network to be rolled out. He described those conversations as “ongoing”.

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