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Automotive startup Ineos unveils a green-pleasing SUV

Larry Printz, Tribune News Service on

Published in Automotive News

Automotive startup Ineos Automotive has unveiled its third model, the Fusilier, a new SUV scheduled to reach showrooms in 2027. The Fusilier follows the release of the Ineos Grenadier SUV in 2022 and Ineos Quartermaster pickup in 2023. So far, only the full-size Grenadier SUV is currently sold in the United States.

Unveiled in London at The Grenadier pub by Ineos Group CEO Sir Jim Ratcliffe , the new Fusilier is smaller than Ineos’ other vehicles, and decidedly more environmentally friendly. It’s slated to be the British brand’s first all-electric vehicle. Yet, crucially, in an effort to minimize an EV driver’s range anxiety, Ineos will also offer the Fusilier with a range-extender powertrain. Like the all-electric version, the range-extender model’s electric motors power the Fusilier’s wheels. Once its batteries are depleted, an internal combustion engine kicks in, serving as a generator to recharge them. The EV will have a range of 250 miles per charge, while the range extender version will run 168 miles, thanks to its 30 percent smaller battery pack.

As for range extender’s engine, it's not connected to the wheels, so it can run off to steady state, making it very efficient. It’s also small, as it's a generator. So there’s no need for a big engine. It’s a strategy being employed by Stellantis in the RamCharger version of its Ram 1500 REV electric pickup truck due later this year. And while the engine will initially run on gasoline, it could run on hydrogen, biodiesel and synthetic fuels in the future.

Still, the need for an EV is crucial if Ineos is to survive, even if Ratcliffe has never been a big fan of electric vehicles.

“The big problem I have with the electric vehicle is that it has two huge failings. One, it doesn't get you from A to B if you want to go on a decent journey, and you can't fill it up. And those are two major drawbacks.”

Nevertheless, Ineos Automotive is developing an electric vehicle, as worldwide government regulations give him no choice, Still, the company paused during the forthcoming EV’s development.

“America has taken a different view to Europe,” Ratcliffe said. “Europe is saying that you will all drive electric vehicles, and we will can the internal combustion engine, whereas America is saying we need to see that the trajectory is going in the right direction. But there probably isn't one solution for all purposes, and we can't force the consumer to buy something that doesn't do what he wants it to do.”

Thus the company’s decision to offer a range extender variant of the Fusilier as well.

 

As for the Fusilier’s design, it’s clearly influenced by the Grenadier and Quartermaster, giving the line a distinctive new look whose form is pure function. It’s an attempt to establish a car company with a clear, iconic lineage.

“One of the most iconic car evolutions has always been the Porsche 911,” Ratcliffe said. “I've always contrasted the 911 with the Jaguar E-Type, where we departed from the E-Type about halfway through its life and that was the end of the E-Type. With the 911, you can see that lineage over 60 years currently with a 911.”

Such thinking influenced the Fusilier’s design, which follows in the Grenadier’s path, albeit with a twist.

“There was a lot more time spent with the with the aero guys getting as much range as we can,” said Ineos Group’s head of design Toby Ecuyer. “But then there are still elements that we felt were important; you can still see the door hinges sticking out. So it doesn't feel like a robot. There was a very similar approach, but obviously, it was slightly different brief.”

That means the simple interior functionality of the Grenadier is duplicated in the Fusilier. “I can’t stand going through three layers of menus to turn the seat heater on,” Ratcliffe said.

Pricing hasn’t been announced, although the Ineos Grenadier now on sale starts at $71,500.

Ineos Automotive was started in 2017 after Ratcliffe ’s efforts at buying the rights to build the old Land Rover Defender were spurned. As Britain’s richest man, and CEO of the world’s third-largest chemical company, one that’s privately held, he created his own new old Defender, the Grenadier, and his own car company. He has since taken the Ineos brand into sailing, cycling and Formula One and now owns the London pub for which the SUV is named.


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