Jaguar engineers have been spotted evaluating a test mule for an SUV sized above the current F-Pace. Tipped to be called the J-Pace, the new SUV is thought to be Jaguar’s first contender in the burgeoning segment for electrified luxury cars.
According to Autocar, which has photos of the test mule, the new SUV will come exclusively with electrified powertrains, making it a potential alternative to plug-in hybrid versions of the BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE as well as electric SUVs like the Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] Model X and upcoming Audi Q6 e-tron.
The British publication reports Jaguar will offer its electrified vehicles with unique bodies to help distinguish them from the automaker’s regular fleet, similar to what BMW did with its i sub-brand and what Mercedes plans to do with its next-generation range of electric cars.
The test mule is said to be fitted with a diesel-electric hybrid powertrain, though such an option is likely pegged for Europe only. A gasoline-electric setup would almost certainly be developed for China and the United States. And it’s possible an electric setup is also in the works.
It was only last year Jaguar together with sister brand Land Rover unveiled a series of technology demonstrators that came in mild hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric flavors. The plug-in hybrid and electric demonstrators were based on Range Rover Sport SUVs, while the mild hybrid setup was based on a Range Rover Evoque.
It’s possible the test mule is the first sign that Jaguar is in the early stage of developing a production version of these technology demonstrators.
Note, Jaguar is also working on an SUV smaller than the F-Pace. This one has also been spotted in test mule form and is thought to be called the E-Pace.
At this point Jaguar is only willing to state that it’s always testing various configurations of its lineup for future development and that these test mules aren’t necessarily indicative of future production models.