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All-electric Jaguar I-Pace concept SUV revealed at LA auto show

15th Nov 2016 4:45 pm

The I-Pace concept previews a future production electric car from the British automaker; set to enter production in 2018.

Earlier this year Jaguar had green-lighted its plans to develop the brand’s first EV with the car expected to be a sister model to the F-Pace. Now Jaguar has given the world a glimpse of its first-ever production EV in the form of the I-Pace concept. The production derivative of the car is expected to go into production in 2018.

Jaguar’s brief for its long-anticipated first electric vehicle was to “create a performance SUV that is spacious, sporty and usable”, and the final design isn’t just an electric version of the successful F-Pace SUV.

Instead, the I-Pace exploits the packaging advantages of an electric powertrain to marry a sleek four-door body style with generous cabin space, four-wheel-drive capability and performance that's on a par with that of a rear-wheel-drive Jaguar F-Type R.

The concept uses a new, bespoke, in-house designed, aluminium-intensive, battery electric vehicle architecture. The architecture, informally referred to as the ‘electric skateboard’, is reportedly production ready and uses the battery pack housing as an integral part of the structure.

In the new architecture, drive is provided by a pair of synchronous permanent magnet electric motors, one integrated into each axle and paired with a single-speed epicyclic transmission. The motors draw power from a 90kWh lithium-ion battery pack.

Each motor produces the equivalent of 200hp, meaning the I-Pace concept has 400hp and 700Nm on tap. Jaguar claims 0-100kph time of 4.0sec for the concept along with a range of about 500km on a full charge.

To go with its intention to develop a performance SUV, the I-Pace’s battery pack is mounted low between the axles to maintain a low centre of gravity. This along with the positioning of the two motors ensures a near 50:50 weight distribution.

With a length 4,680mm, width of 1,890mm and height of 1,560mm, the I-Pace concept is smaller in dimension than the F-Pace. However, the most significant difference is in the wheelbase. Jaguar has pushed the electric car’s out to 2,990mm, compared with the F-Pace’s 2,874mm. Indeed, the I-Pace’s wheelbase is 30mm longer than the XF’s too.

To reduce drag, the door handles sit flush with the body surface and slide out when activated and side skirts channel air more efficiently around the wheels. A low-set bonnet features a grille that bends back to channel air through a scoop similar to that of the C-X75, helping to reduce drag further.

At the rear of the I-Pace Concept’s roof, a slender fixed spoiler reduces lift at higher speeds without generating drag. The dramatically sloping rear window has a hydrophobic glass coating that sheds water, negating the need for a rear windscreen wiper. The squared-off rear end and flared haunches accentuate the short rear overhang but also provide an aerodynamic benefit by encouraging air to cling to the vehicle for longer, stabilising airflow at speed. In place of exhaust pipes, there are rear vents that help to channel turbulent air from the rear wheel arches into the vehicle’s wake, as well as a rear diffuser.

Inside, the cabin maximises occupant space while featuring a new minimalist design. The dashboard features the use of displays – both touchscreen and button operated – to control most of the interior functions. The seats are set low thanks to a flat floor while a floating centre console emphasises the lack of a transmission tunnel. Jaguar also claims rear occupant space to be better than some full-sized SUV with up to 71mm of knee room on offer to rear passengers.

With the I-Pace, Jaguar has set its sights on the Tesla Model X along with the upcoming rivals such as the Audi e-tron SUV and a production EV from Mercedes’ new EQ sub-brand.

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