Jaguar have won the race to design and build a fully electric SUV. The I-PACE is the perfect blend of class, comfort and speed.
In May, The Art of Luxury were invited by Jaguar to travel to Portimão, Portugal, to experience the I-PACE along the beautiful coast of the Algarve. This involved a full weekend of putting the car through its paces, both off and on road and even on the world class circuit Autodromo Internacional do Algarve. To say we were excited is a huge understatement. To be invited as one of the first to test drive such a revolutionary and industry changing car was an honour.
The I-PACE is incredibly significant for Jaguar as it is their first offering into the ever-growing landscape of electric vehicles. The SUV is king at the moment and with this trend only looking to continue, manufactures have placed their attention to the future… that future being electric. Many still have reservations when it comes to electric vehicles, mostly being centred around one of three things: range anxiety, charging times and speed. If you are one of these people, then Jaguar have the answer.
Our first impression of the car when picking it up at the airport was one of surprise at how large the vehicle was. At just under 4.7 meters long it is roughly equivalent to a Porche Macan, but still manages to look sporty and sleek at the same time. The length allows the Jaguar to fit 432 high energy density Lithium-ion pouch cells into the floor of the car helping to achieve an incredibly low centre of gravity, thus optimizing composure and reducing body roll. These thoughtful designs helps to increase the aerodynamic performance of the car. You might be wondering why an SUV needs to be particularly aerodynamic, as historically SUVs have always been large bricks of a vehicle which simply pushes all of the air out of the way rather than slicing through.
Ian Callum, Director of Design for Jaguar, explained that the reason for this design choice in the past was due to the limitations of the typical engine and transmission gear that was required. When designing a standard car, you start with the huge mechanical parts that are necessary – the placement of these isn’t too flexible. For example, there is no getting around the huge 4 litre V8 in your typical Range Rover of the past. Add in the transmission gear and drive shaft, and before you know it the proportions of the rest of the car are almost dictated by the mechanics underneath. However, this wasn’t the case with the I-Pace which has been completely designed from the ground up with the only large mechanical pieces being the two high efficiency electric motors. Packaging them concentrically with the single-speed transmissions makes them as compact as possible. Their position in each axle delivering all –wheel drive and again, contributing to the I-PACEs low centre of gravity. All of this efficiency means a range of up to 298 miles as measured by the WLTP test cycle.
For those longer journeys, a quick 40-minute stop at one of the UK’s many public rapid chargers would top you up to 80% charge. If instead you wished to charge the I-PACE overnight at home, the same battery life would take 10 hours, so perfect for an overnight charge. Upon driving the car, it quickly became clear quite how powerful the motors were. It boasts 0-60mph in 4.5 seconds, with 696Nm of torque. Now there are not many cars which could put such a smile on your face when you put the pedal down, double up as a great family car, and on top of all of that, cope with off-road conditions with extreme temperatures as low as -40°C. The I-Pace really left ourselves wanting for nothing.
As for the interior of the vehicle, it was simply superb. Exactly the sort of quality that Jaguar are famed for. As the Director of Design, Ian Callum described “Being inside the I-Pace is to experience something special and that is what a Jaguar is all about”. With a Touch Pro Duo infotainment system combined with the floating centre console, it affords a huge amount of room to stretch out and enjoy the ride as a passenger, and as a drive it gives you full control. We were especially pleased to see actual switches and buttons to control the climate system. For those that have driven a Tesla, trying to adjust the centre console on the move can be worrisome at best. To top this off, a large glass panoramic sun roof runs the entire length of the car, flooding the cabin with light and amplifying the sense of space.
After spending a weekend with the car, driving through the stunning Algarve we all agreed, Jaguar have excelled. With the I-PACE being designed and engineered from the ground up in the UK the feeling of pride was strong. Once again, Jaguar, an iconic British brand are pushing the boundaries producing an outstanding car that beats their rivals on price, luxury and finish.
With prices starting at £63,495, with a further £4500 government grant available, the future is truly here…
Luxury EV has landed.