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Ineos will not "follow sheep" with EV-only offering

Ineos believes that "consumers should have a choice" when it comes to electric powertrains Sir...


  • Feb 23 2024
  • 25
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Ineos will not "follow sheep" with EV-only offering
Ineos will not "follow sheep" with EV-only offering
Ineos believes that "consumers should have a choice" when it comes to electric powertrains
Sir Jim Ratcliffe says his 4x4 firm is open to all different powertrain technologies and legislators should be too

Ineos Automotive will “not just follow the sheep” and focus on solely battery-electric powertrains for the future, remaining open to all different types of fuels.

That’s according to founder Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who used the debut of the new Ineos Fusilier to call on UK and EU legislators to keep a much more open mind to other powertrain types beyond EVs and focus instead on the wider goal of reducing carbon emissions without pricing buyers out of the market and removing choice for them.

“Part of what we do at Ineos is question all the time, not just follow the sheep,” said Ratcliffe.

While the Fusilier does feature an EV drivetrain, there will also be a range-extender version with a small petrol that will function as a generator for powering the electric motors.

“Consumers should have a choice,” said Ratcliffe. “We can’t force them. At the moment, they’re voting with their feet and not buying [EVs].”

He pointed out that the US takes a different view to Europe in focusing on the wider goal of reducing the emissions of road transport towards net zero, rather than legislating in favour of one particular technology before the market might be ready.

“In the US, the trend is going down and the carbon footprint improves each year," he said. "There’s no issue with decarbonising the fleet, but we can’t be too idealistic. If we’re seeing an improvement, that’s not a bad thing. You can’t just go for the ideal solution.”

Ineos Fusilier

Ratcliffe doesn't agree with the UK’s stance on having regulated solely in favour of EVs and not leaving the door open for other powertrain technologies.

Ineos Automotive CEO Lynn Calder said that the REx version of the Fusilier would be classified as a hybrid and therefore banned from UK sale in 2035 as things stand currently.

“We think that’s nuts, as it’s a car and technology our owners would want to buy,” she said, confirming that Ineos would be “working hard” with the government to try to ensure that isn't the case.

She added: “We need a mix of powertrains. A car with 25% of the emissions of a ICE car: why would we not want that? We will work hard to not see it banned.

“We’re in 43 markets, and not all of them will go to EVs, and all of them have different needs. Not all are as evangelical as the UK.”

Calder also confirmed the decision to introduce the REx version of the Fusilier alongside the EV was a late call, made only a couple of months ago, in response to stalling demand for EVs across the UK and Europe.

“We were swayed by the turn of the tide and buyers voting with their feet,” she said. “We recognise not all buyers want EVs; there’s a use case for them for sure, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it ended up at 25-20% [of the market] rather than 100%.”

Ratcliffe also spoke widely about other fuel types, including hydrogen, biofuels and synthetic fuels.

On hydrogen, Ineos now no longer sees it as a beacon for where the industry will likely end up but still considers it a relevant future part of the road transport mix, while noting huge cost and infrastructure concerns.

“Hydrogen will have a part,” Ratcliffe said. “We don’t know where it will end up, but I think all things will find their place in the world of transport with different solutions for urban, trucks, off-road… There are lots of different solutions that will optimised for a range of different solutions.

"You come back to the economics of production and the infrastructure required [with hydrogen]. In the US, it costs one fifth what it does in Europe to make hydrogen, so in the EU, you will have to pay €500-600 a tank for fuel versus €120-130 a tank in the US.”

That might suggest a wavering in Ineos’s previously stated belief that hydrogen would win out as a fuel of the future of cars, but Ratcliffe maintains that it has relevance for heavy goods vehicles and buses.

On biofuels, he said they were an “emotive topic”, as “you’re planting for fuel not food”. Putting that aside, he said they were “impacted too much on the whim of government policy” and what subsidies were available.

The internal combustion engine itself should be allowed to continue to thrive, he said, and be used to help reduce carbon emissions.

“There are still gains to be made for internal combustion engines; we’re not at the end of the road for them just yet,” he explained.

He also noted that, as a lot of development and progress comes from Europe, the end of ICE development will impact carbon reduction in other markets that aren't and may never be ready for EVs (such as South America), thus harming the overall goal to globally reduce carbon emissions.

“All EU manufacturers have been forced into EVs, but we don’t want to end internal combustion engine technology, as it’s relevant in other parts of the world,” he said.

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