Jaguar Is Taking Aim at Mercedes Backyard With New Electric Taxis

(Bloomberg) -- Jaguar’s I-Pace electric crossover is taking aim at German taxi fleets ruled by Mercedes-Benz luxury sedans.

Jaguar Is Taking Aim at Mercedes Backyard With New Electric Taxis

The British premium carmaker delivered ten of its 62,925 pound ($82,733) battery models to Munich’s biggest taxi operator on Monday. Daimler AG’s upscale Mercedes brand accounts for about 60 percent of German taxis, with drivers mostly choosing the $46,200 E-Class sedan. The world’s biggest luxury carmaker doesn’t start delivering its electric EQ C crossover until next year.

“We want to invite people in Munich to drive electric, but also drive Jaguar,” Jaguar Land Rover’s Chief Executive Officer Ralf Speth said in an interview. “One of the reasons we wanted to be here was the mixed traffic -- you’ve got the city traffic, on the other you’ve got the autobahn to the airport.”

The vehicles, with a driving range of 298 miles, are part of a push by the city of Munich, also BMW AG’s hometown, to reduce pollution. Rides will be made cheaper with a 20-cent-per-kilometer subsidy from the municipality. Jaguar, owned by India’s Tata Motors Ltd., started sales of its electric model earlier this year, the first of a growing lineup of a new generation of electric cars with more attractive designs and driving ranges as tightening emissions regulation forces carmakers to switch to battery models.

Munich is among German cities with the highest levels of pollution from diesel vehicles, exceeding limits of harmful nitrogen oxides that has triggered potential driving bans for older cars.

Speth said the company was open to expanding into other city taxi fleets.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.