Jaguar Land Rover is set to introduce its first electric car next year in the form of the Jaguar I-Pace. Eventually, Land Rover will launch its own electric car based on the skateboard-style platform underpinning the I-Pace.

That’s the word of Land Rover design boss Gerry McGovern, who in an interview with Drive said Land Rover must “embrace” electrification but in a way that maintains the “essence” of the brand, i.e. off-road capability.

Land Rover has already given us a taste of the potential of an electric SUV with its Defender All-Terrain Electric prototype unveiled in 2013. The prototype relied on a single electric motor to power its 4-wheel-drive system and could travel about 50 miles on a single charge.

Importantly, the prototype showed that electrification offers plenty of benefits for an off-road vehicle. The low-down weight of batteries and the instantaneous torque delivery of electric motors is exactly what hardcore crawlers desire.

But before Land Rover gets into the fully electric car business, the brand will launch more plug-in hybrids. Its first two are the new Range Rover and Range Rover Sport P400e models. A plug-in hybrid version of the next-generation Land Defender is also looking like a certainty.