Jaguar takes on Oxford English Dictionary over definition of “car”

X Scalper

Despite being named 2019 World Car of the Year, the Jaguar I-Pace doesn’t actually fit the definition of the word “car,” its maker lamented last week.

That’s because the Oxford Dictionaries website defines “car” as “a road vehicle, typically with four wheels, powered by an internal combustion engine and able to carry a small number of people.” The I-Pace indeed has four wheels and seats five, but it’s a battery-electric vehicle.

So Jaguar said it has — in what we’re starting to think might be some sort of publicity campaign for the I-Pace rather than an altruistic foray into lexicology — petitioned the Oxford English Dictionary to update its definition of “car” to include EVs. The brand also created the social media hashtag “#RedefineTheCar” to invite suggestions for how the word should be officially explained.

“A lot of time and thought is put into the name of any new vehicle or technology to ensure it is consumer friendly, so it’s surprising to see that the definition of the car is a little outdated,” David Browne, head of the Jaguar Land Rover naming committee, said in a statement. “We are therefore inviting the Oxford English Dictionary and the Oxford Dictionaries to update its online classification to reflect the shift from traditional internal combustion engines towards more sustainable powertrains.”

Jaguar’s point, given the industry’s growing push toward electrification, is well taken. But technically, even the brand’s own website does not describe the I-Pace as a car. Jaguar calls it an electric SUV.

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