The Road From High-Octane To High-Tech Is Dangerous. Father Of ‘Tesla-Beater’ Jaguar Says Why

At a recent conference in Taipei, covering the fringes of cars and high-tech, a bespectacled, white-shirted man climbed on stage, and announced that his car “is not a Tesla fighter. It is a Tesla beater.” Of course, my interest was piqued. I grabbed Dr. Wolfgang Ziebart, father of the upcoming Jaguar I-Pace electric car, and in a backroom of a place called “Woolloomooloo Out West,” I asked Ziebart “holes in the belly,” as he complained. Read everything about the beautiful I-Pace, about fab-less automakers, about why OEMs can’t wait for OTA, why they don’t dare to use it, and why horizontal is the new vertical.

Who is Ziebart? “I am not a petrol-head,” claimed Ziebart.”I am a technology head.” He is a bit of both. Remember the now classic BMW “e46” BMW Dreier? That was Ziebart’s baby. Ziebart was chief of BMW’s R&D, and later CEO of the German chip giant Infineon. Ziebart became Engineering Director of Jaguar Land Rover in summer of 2013, when Tesla had barely begun selling its Model S in earnest, and when most automakers looked on in a mixture of amusement and disdain. Only a few months later, the I-Pace was conceived, over Dover sole.

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