Highlights of the First Annual Jaguar Land Rover Tech Fest

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jaguarforums.com Jaguar FUTURE-TYPE Concept

Jaguar Land Rover announced every one of its vehicles will feature some form of electric power by the year 2020. That wasn’t the only big news from the event, though.

This weekend, Jaguar Land Rover held its first ever Tech Fest at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London. It was full of special vehicles from the past, present, and future, as well as major announcements.

Dr Ralf Speth, Jaguar Land Rover Chief Executive Officer, made the biggest of those announcements. He said, “Every new Jaguar Land Rover model line will be electrified from 2020, giving our customers even more choice. We will introduce a portfolio of electrified products across our model range, embracing fully electric, plug-in hybrid and mild hybrid vehicles.”

The automaker has been embracing the power of electricity more and more recently. The production version of Jaguar’s first all-electric vehicle prototype, the I-PACE concept, will arrive in dealerships next year. The fully autonomous FUTURE-TYPE, JLR’s vision of mobility in 2040 and beyond, is all-electric. JLR’s Classic division even converted a 1968 Series 1.5 Jaguar E-Type Roadster into a totally electric vehicle with a 0-62 mph time of 5.5 seconds and a range of 170 miles that it calls the E-Type Zero.


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JLR also used Tech Fest to share news about other projects, such as “Waste to Wave,” a surfboard created in with partnership SkunkWorks Surf Co. that’s made out of recycled plastic harvested from old JLR clay design models. JLR will continue to use the polyurethane skeletons of its retired clay models to produce surfboards and paddleboards.

Company engineers have fitted a Range Rover Sport with Autonomous Urban Drive technology that allows it to travel through a city, obey traffic lights, and negotiate T-junctions and roundabouts without the help of a driver. It’s a step forward in JLR’s journey toward level four autonomy, which the automaker hopes to reach within the next decade.

By 2020, JLR plans to provide solar lamps to 1.2 million people. It’s partnering with Climate Care to deliver the clean, safe, and renewable sources of light to families in Kenya. The lamps generate up to four hours of additional light every evening, allowing kids to study and families to socialize longer. They’ll cut fuel costs and cut down on the fumes generated by the kerosene lamps that are widely used in the African country today. JLR said, “By enabling villagers to work for longer at home, the lamps also foster economic independence. In time, families could be able to afford their own solar lamps, creating a virtuous circle of social and economic benefits.”

Derek Shiekhi's father raised him on cars. As a boy, Derek accompanied his dad as he bought classics such as post-WWII GM trucks and early Ford Mustang convertibles.

After loving cars for years and getting a bachelor's degree in Business Management from Texas State University, Derek decided to get an associate degree in journalism from Austin Community College as well. His networking put him in contact with the editor of the Austin-American Statesman newspaper, who hired him to write freelance about automotive culture and events in Austin, Texas in 2013. One particular story led to him getting a certificate for learning the foundations of road racing.

While watching TV with his parents one fateful evening, he saw a commercial that changed his life. In it, Jeep touted the Wrangler as the Texas Auto Writers Association's "SUV of Texas." Derek knew he had to join the organization if he was going to advance as an automotive writer. He joined the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) in 2014 and was fortunate to meet several nice people who connected him to the representatives of several automakers and the people who could give him access to press vehicles (the first one he ever got the keys to was a Lexus LX 570). He's now a regular at TAWA's two main events: the Texas Auto Roundup in the spring and the Texas Truck Rodeo in the fall.

Over the past several years, Derek has learned how to drive off-road in various four-wheel-drive SUVs (he even camped out for two nights in a Land Rover), and driven around various tracks in hot hatches, muscle cars, and exotics. Several of his pieces, including his article about the 2015 Ford F-150 being crowned TAWA's 2014 "Truck of Texas" and his review of the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, have won awards in TAWA's annual Excellence in Craft Competition. Last year, his profile of Wagonmaster, a business that restores Jeep Wagoneers, won prizes in TAWA’s signature writing contest and its pickup- and SUV-focused Texas Truck Invitational.

In addition to writing for a variety of Internet Brands sites, including JK-Forum.com and Ford-Trucks.com, Derek also contributes to other outlets. He started There Will Be Cars on Instagram and Facebook to get even more automotive content out to fellow enthusiasts.

Derek can be contacted at [email protected]

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