INEOS Automotive unveils its first 4×4 EV, but also uses the moment to romanticize gas cars

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During a livestream held from the Grenadier Pub in London today, young UK Automaker INEOS publicly unveiled its third model and first EV – the Fusilier. As a smaller version of its Grenadier sibling, the Fusilier will arrive with BEV and range extender options. Despite being all-electric, the Fusilier’s makers couldn’t stop talking about the potential of every other option besides electric.

INEOS Automotive is a vehicle sub-brand of Ineos Group Limited, a London-based conglomerate operating as one of the largest chemical companies in the world. The automotive arm was formed in 2017 by INEOS founder Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who currently sits as chairman and CEO. Ratcliffe saw a gap in the market for high-performance 4×4 vehicles that are rugged and reliable.

That new entry began with its flagship combustion vehicle, the Grenadier, launched in 2022. INEOS has since launched a double-cab pickup version of the Grenadier and donned the Quartermaster, both of which are powered by combustion.

At the time, however, INEOS shared that a 4×4 EV powertrain was in the works, leading to today’s launch of its third model – the Fusilier. Developed with the help of Magna, INEOS’ first EV model looks cool, but it’s hard to believe its own creators have faith in its success unless you choose the range extender version that still requires gas.

INEOS EV Fusilier
The INEOS Fusilier / Source: INEOS Automotive

INEOS unveils new Fusilier EV in London

Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS head of design Toby Ecuyer were joined by former Top Gear co-host and TV personality Richard Hammond, from the Grenadier Pub in London, which had been renamed the Fusilier Pub, but only for today.

The gentlemen briefly mentioned the new INEOS EV alongside a quick launch video you can view below, but the stream took a baffling turn from there as the conversation shed its sheep’s clothing as sunk into an ode to the glory days of gas cars and how many problems EVs still give consumers, spoon fed to the audience. Some of which just wanted to learn about this exciting new INEOS EV.

There’s no argument that such a nascent and fast-growing segment is taking its fair share of lumps as the market tries to keep up and adapt, but it was an interesting coming from the team itself. I’ll dig into that later, but let’s focus on the potential of the new Fusilier 4×4.

As mentioned, the Fusilier will come in full BEV and BEV + range extender powertrain options to meet a broader range of consumers. During the livestream, Ratcliffe stated that the BEV version will offer about 400km (249 miles) of range, plus another 270km (168 miles) with the gas engine extender. The automotive chairman and CEO spoke:

As we developed this vehicle, we quickly concluded that in order to move towards decarbonization but continue making cars that consumers want to drive, we need a mix of powertrain technologies. BEVs are perfect for certain uses: shorter trips and urban deliveries, but industry and governments need to have realistic expectations around other technologies that can help accelerate the necessary pace of change. That is the reason we are offering an additional powertrain for the Fusilier, one that dramatically reduces emissions but has the range and refueling capabilities needed.

The new INEOS EV is smaller and more aerodynamic than its Grenadier sibling while offering a classic feel and tremendous off-road capability – two design pillars on the automotive sub-brand were built. The exterior features active grille shutters that can manage airflow and maximize range and 7″ circular LED lighting in the front and rear to match the other INEOS vehicles.

There was no mention of battery size, chemistry, or charging capabilities. Just a lot of talk about petrol, synthetic fuels, and even hydrogen. This automaker is owned by a massive fuel and lubricant manufacturer, by the way.

As with the Grenadier station wagon and Quartermaster pickup, the INEOS Fusilier was developed alongside Magna International and will likely be built at Magna Steyr in Austria, which is currently home to Mercedes G-Wagon and Fisker Ocean production.

INEOS said it will share details of the alternative powertrains this coming fall and when the new EV will officially launch and begin sales.

Electrek’s take

Listen, I know there’s still a vast world of ICE fans out there, and EVs in their current state don’t make the most sense financially or performance-wise for plenty of consumers yet. We will get there, and that’s fine. But there’s a time and a place for those conversations, and I’m no PR expert, but a live stream launch event is not the appropriate time to talk about the potential gas cars still … have in the tank (sorry, I had to).

Some of us got up long before sunrise to tune into this event in London and report back to a loyal audience of EV enthusiasts hoping to learn more about a genuinely cool-looking 4×4 EV from INEOS, not to hear emcee Richard Hammond not so subtly steer every question and comment away from the (inevitable) future of electrification and tee INEOS Automotive’s CEO up for opportunity after opportunity to spread doubt and misinformation about it.

At one point, Ratcliffe said, “There are still huge gains to be made in combustion engines.” Hammond cited some unnamed study that said by 2050, a vast majority of cars in Europe will still be combustion. Not any new vehicles, that’s for sure.

Whether those points end up being true (they won’t), it still begs the question, “Why are we talking about this right now?” This was a public launch of an ELECTRIC VEHICLE. It’s hard to instill confidence in a new EV model when INEOS’ own executives don’t want to talk about it on the day it’s unveiled.

INEOS’ design strategy is clearly still heavily focused on gas engines, and that’s fine. They will have an audience. But if you’re going to build an EV to offer consumers a broader range of options, don’t half-ass it. This community can sniff that out in a second (ahem, Mazda).

We want to know about the batteries, where the cells came from, the acceleration, torque, towing, and, of course, all of the cool software features inside. There was none of that, so forgive me if it’s hard to get excited about this one so far. INEOS has a lot to learn and a lot more to share about its new EV, which could have been done today. Instead, we will wait patiently for the next stream… although I’ll probably just skip it, stay in bed for another hour or so, then and go straight to the press release.

Source: INEOS Automotive

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