Ineos Automotive, the carmaker founded by Sir Jim Ratcliffe, plans to continue producing petrol and diesel engines for its Grenadier offroader into the next decade. Lynn Calder, the new chief of Ineos Automotive, believes that relying solely on electric batteries is not feasible and argues that combustion engines still have a place in the automotive industry. While electric vehicles are an important part of the mix, Calder warns against solely relying on one technology, as it risks making cars unaffordable for ordinary people due to the increasing demand for limited resources like lithium. Calder believes that there will be many solutions required to address the energy problem, and the same applies to the automotive sector.
Although bans on petrol and diesel vehicles in the UK and the EU will prevent Ineos Automotive from selling Grenadiers after 2030 and 2035, respectively, there will still be a market for these vehicles in places like Africa. Ineos Automotive is developing greener versions of its vehicles and is exploring hydrogen as a low-emission fuel source. It has also created a prototype of the Grenadier that runs on clean-burning hydrogen. Additionally, the company is developing a new battery-powered model, set to launch in 2026, to cater to consumers who don’t require extreme offroading capabilities.
Ineos Automotive currently sells its vehicles to 40 countries with varying emission reduction targets. It aims to find a market among emergency services and armed forces, where durability and reliability are valued. However, the company acknowledges the challenges of replicating the pulling power and offroad capabilities of diesel-powered vehicles in electric models. Moreover, the positioning of batteries low in electric vehicles poses difficulties when driving through wet environments and wading.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe, a self-made billionaire, has invested over £440 million in developing the Grenadier. Lynn Calder, the new chief of Ineos Automotive, has a background in oil and gas and was surprised to be asked to lead the company’s car business. However, her involvement has been an honor, given her interest in motors and her father’s background as a car mechanic and truck driver. Ineos Automotive was able to acquire a pre-existing factory from Mercedes in Hambach, France, improving its access to suppliers. The Grenadier has seen strong sales in large countries with rugged terrain, such as the US, Australia, and African states like Botswana.
Source: The Telegraph, Autocar