Speth warned that with the development cost of an EV at 2.5 times higher than that of a combustion vehicle, "higher economies of scale have to happen."
On the other hand, JLR is not following the competition and plunging into development of autono-mous vehicles because of safety concerns, Speth said.
"We need more technology and millions more lines of code," he said. "Let's wait a little bit. It may be too conservative, but I do it purposely."
Speth said the U.S. will be the major market for the high-performance I-Pace. The vehicle will accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about 4 seconds, and the flat floor allows for a spacious interior, he said.
What's "not clear," Speth said, is whether customers will accept the new design direction of the I-Pace, especially its short hood. Buyers are used to Jaguar's long hood for "the more powerful horses," he said.
Speth and Jaguar Land Rover North America CEO Joe Eberhardt, who also attended a roundtable with reporters before press days at the show, would not disclose I-Pace pricing.
"It depends on where the market will migrate to," Eberhardt said.
Speth said the major concern with self-driving cars is that current technology "is not safe enough."
He said the first uses should be in trucks on closed roadways "so you have easier territory rather than bringing them into the middle of the city."