Ineos Automotive, a division of UK petrochemical giant Ineos, is considering an all-electric variant of its new Grenadier off-roader.
Company executives told Automotive News Europe that a battery electric Grenadier is one of the routes to achieving zero-emissions, in addition to the already announced hydrogen fuel cell version.
"Right now, that will probably add a ton of weight, but the battery tech is changing. We do not know where the market is going."
Mark Tennant, commercial director Ineos Automotive
It is not clear whether the UK automaker plans to offer both battery electric and fuel cell Grenadier versions. Up until now, the company has favoured fuel cell technology, calling it "the most attractive" of the zero-emissions technologies being evaluated for future introduction in the Grenadier.
In October last year, Ineos said that a hydrogen fuel cell demonstrator vehicle was under development and would begin testing by the end of 2022.
Ineos Automotive CEO Dirk Heilmann still believes hydrogen fuel cell is the more viable option, even though a fuel cell version of the Grenadier would not arrive until 2027 "at the earliest."
Gallery: Ineos Grenadier
"For the Grenadier, hydrogen fuel cell is a better way to fuel an electric vehicle because of its lower weight and greater capability. If you want to move loads it's a bit of a problem."
Heilmann was referring to the fact that the weight of batteries cuts into the payload for commercial variants. However, there are some applications where a battery electric powertrain would make more sense, the executive said.
"There will be off highway, specialist applications where range does not play a role, the mining industry for example but it's very specific."
Ineos plans to launch production of the Grenadier with petrol and diesel powertrains in July at the former Smart plant in Hambach, France.
The company plans to sell two-seat and five-seat commercial variants in the UK and the rest of Europe alongside the five-seat SUV, as that will allow it to be classified as a small-volume manufacturer and escape the European Union's strict 95 g/km average CO2 limit. A longer double-cap pickup is expected to launch in 2023.
US deliveries of petrol-powered Grenadier SUVs will also start in 2023, with the company to begin taking orders later this year. According to Ineos CEO, the Grenadier will target buyers of "top-end Ford Broncos and Jeep Wranglers" in the US market.