Jaguar’s bold step into an electric future
The latest arrival in the growing Jaguar PACE family of SUVs is also the most innovative. The all-new I-PACE is a pure electric vehicle, or BEV (battery electric vehicle) in industry-speak. Painstakingly developed and described by Jaguar as a ‘five seat sports car’ the I-PACE offers a range of up to 298 miles and 0-62mph in just 4.8 seconds. It’s the first serious rival to Tesla as a luxury, high-performance electric vehicle and no coincidence that Jaguar’s launch videos showed the I-PACE beating the Model X in 0-60-0 acceleration and braking tests. Game on…
Having no bulky engine or transmission to accommodate gave Ian Callum’s design team the freedom to create a new kind of sports SUV. The ‘cabin forward’ design of the I-PACE is reminiscent of the C-X75 concept supercar but the I-PACE is a far more practical proposition. The front grille and window line are Jaguar design signatures while the low bonnet, sweeping roofline and coupé-like silhouette give a sleek aerodynamic drag coefficient of 0.29. Yet inside it feels far bigger than the footprint would suggest, with room for five and the option of a premium textile Kvadrat upholstery material. Interior design features include a distinctive floating centre console, Touch Pro Duo ‘flight deck’ infotainment system and plenty of stowage areas.
With a low centre of gravity courtesy of those floorpan-mounted batteries and all-wheel drive from the two electric motors, the I-PACE promises a sporting driving experience. A state-of-the-art 90kWh Lithium-ion battery with 432 pouch cells powers two Jaguar-designed motors, one for each axle. With a combined 400PS and 696Nm. 0-62mph takes just 4.8 seconds. Using DC rapid charging, owners will be able to achieve a 0-80 per cent battery charge in just 40 minutes. Alternatively, overnight charging from a domestic supply will achieve the same charge in 10 hours. Maximum range is 298 miles, though (as with all maximum range figures) this depends on terrain, speed and the way you drive.
Key in-cabin technology is the Touch Pro Duo infotainment system, with both a large touchscreen and tactile physical controls. Programme a destination to the sat-nav and it will analyse the topography of the route and previous journey driving styles to create a personalised and accurate range prediction, hopefully banishing the range anxiety suffered by owners of some BEVs. As warming a cabin on a cold morning (or cooling it on a hot day) consumes a lot of power, you’ll be able to pre-set this while the I-PACE is charging, thus preserving the full driving range. I-PACE also features Amazon Alexa Skill, accessing information held on the Jaguar InControl app on their smartphones. Keeping this all up to date, I-PACE will be the first Jaguar to provide seamless software updates over-the-air.
The body construction of the I‑PACE features a rigid aluminium and steel cage around the battery, providing increased protection in the case of an accident. There are six airbags, including driver and passenger airbags, side curtain and thorax. Emergency braking, lane keep assist, traffic sign recognition and driver condition monitor are all standard, and to protect pedestrians the ultra-quiet I-PACE emits an external acoustic signal at speeds under 12mph.
Verdict: back in 1961, Jaguar blew the world’s (metaphorical) socks off with the E-Type Jaguar. The I-PACE isn’t a two-seat supercar but in terms of what it means for the future of Jaguar (and zero emissions driving) it could prove to be just as seminal. This is a seriously desirable, eminently practical and exhilaratingly rewarding Jaguar that just happens to be an electric vehicle. The future for people who love driving is looking bright, and it’s in our showrooms now.