Ineos to add smaller electric SUV after Grenadier launch
Ineos Group, the British chemical company entering the auto industry this summer with the BMW-powered Grenadier off-road vehicle, is adding a second SUV: a smaller battery-electric model.
Ineos CEO Jim Ratcliffe said the second model will also have four-wheel drive and be aimed at enthusiasts with rugged off-road driving.
Not many details were revealed, but the second Ineos will have a smaller platform than the Grenadier, and it will be built at the company’s Hambach plant in France near the German border. No launch dates were given, but if the vehicle is a clean-sheet design, such as the new Scout electric SUV coming from Volkswagen, it likely would not appear before 2026.
Grenadier production is slated to begin in July, and U.S. deliveries could start in 2023. The Grenadier is a full-size SUV created in the wake of the demise of the original Land Rover Defender, which went out of production in 2016 after a 68-year run. It was replaced in 2019 by an all-new, totally different unibody model.
Ratcliffe attempted to buy the tooling from Land Rover so he could modernize the original vehicle and continue production. But Land Rover, which sells repair and restoration parts and offers restoration services for the classic Defender and its antecedents, rebuffed Ratcliffe’s offer.
Ratcliffe then assembled an automotive team and designed the Grenadier, whose appearance pays tribute to the Defender, and bought the Smart car plant in Hambach from Daimler.
Ineos is also working on an electrified version of the Grenadier that, if the technology develops, will use a hydrogen-powered fuel cell to generate electricity.
The electric SUV and pickup segment is growing quickly with the GMC Hummer, Rivian R1T and Ford F-150 Lightning pickups already on sale and electric versions of the Chevrolet Silverado and Ram pickup on the way. GMC and Rivian are also launching electric SUVs.