Jaguar Land Rover is looking to bring more plug-in hybrids to Australia.
“I’m looking at the market changes, the condition changes, with a view to deciding when the best opportunity is for those vehicles to be introduced into Australia,” said JLR Australia managing director Mark Cameron.
“Obviously, there has to be a business case, there has to be volume, to look toward that. But we’re committed to try and improve the mix of low emissions vehicles with our fleet.”
He said some state government changes around zero-emission vehicle incentives were encouraging, but wants to see greater changes to the Luxury Car Tax (LCT) thresholds.
“We would like customers buying more expensive cars to still have some incentive to switch their buying behaviour away from traditional internal combustion engines to low-emissions electric or electrified vehicles,” said Mr Cameron.
The more affordable of the two, the Range Rover Sport, uses a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine with a 13kWh battery and a 105kW electric motor, for a total system output of 297kW of power.
It’s presently available only in base SE trim. Likewise, the Range Rover’s PHEV variant is only available in that line’s entry-level Vogue trim.
While state and territory governments across Australia have been announcing incentives and goals for electric vehicle uptake, there’s been little in the way of directly incentivising plug-in hybrids.
In Victoria, the state is arguably disincentivizing the technology by charging a 2c/km road user tax. This means PHEV owners will pay a tax on both their petrol and their use of the roads.
New South Wales will follow suit but has delayed the introduction of its 2.5c/km tax to July 1, 2027, though at this point it’ll remove stamp duty for both PHEVs and all-electric vehicles.
Both the NSW and Queensland governments also plan to add more PHEVs to their fleets.
Last year in Australia, all-electric vehicles outsold plug-in hybrid models.
Excluding Tesla, which doesn’t report its sales figures, there were 939 electric passenger cars and 816 electric SUVs sold in Australia.
In contrast, there were 403 plug-in hybrid passenger cars and 1282 PHEV SUVs.
Various luxury brands have entered the PHEV market in recent years, however.
The Bavarian brand will also introduce a plug-in xDrive30e version of its X3 mid-sized SUV before the end of 2021.
Audi doesn’t offer any PHEVs locally despite a wide range in Europe, though the Volkswagen Group’s PHEV drought locally will soon end with the introduction of electrified Bentley and Cupra models.
It will, however, offer a plug-in ‘4xe’ version of its upcoming, redesigned Grand Cherokee in 2022.
While JLR’s plug-in hybrid range has grown rapidly and it plans to roll out more all-electric models, regular internal combustion engines – most of which feature mild-hybrid technology – are still safe for now.
“We’re going to have a great range of technologies, we’re not going to start sacrificing the availability of diesels or petrols anytime soon, for some years,” said Mr Cameron.