Jaguar has pipped its competitors to the post, revealing its first stand-alone electric model before SUV rivals from Audi and Mercedes. The 400hp I-Pace is the first pure-electric model from the brand and spearheads a range of forthcoming electrified Jaguars. The next electric model, due next year, will be a new-generation XJ luxury saloon, and hybrid versions of its other models will start arriving by 2020.
With impending CO2 targets for 2021, the I-Pace will be a crucial part of Jaguar’s low-emission drive. It also gives the brand the opportunity to position itself at the cutting edge of a new breed of premium electric vehicles arriving in the next 12 months and beyond. The I-Pace’s 90kWh lithium ion battery delivers a range of up to 480km, according to the new WLTP cycle. That equates to 535km on the old NEDC test and 385km on the American EPA cycle. The Tesla Model 3 achieves 500km on the EPA cycle and the Renault Zoe – Europe’s biggest-selling EV in 2017 – offers up to 400km on the NEDC cycle. Most manufacturers soon to launch electric SUVs, including Audi (E-tron) and Mercedes (EQ C), are predicting a 500km range.
Public charging to 80 percent capacity on a 50kW charger will take 1hr 25min, says Jaguar, and a 30min charge will give 125km of range. The model is also compatible with 100kW public chargers, which will give an 80 percent charge in 45min but are not yet available publicly in Jaguar’s home market the UK. However, Jaguar says 100kW-plus charging points will be available to the public by the time the first I-Paces are delivered to customers in the summer. At home, a 7kW wall box will charge the battery from 0 percent to 80 percent in 10 hours.
The I-Pace uses two electric motors, one on each axle to enable all-wheel drive. The synchronous permanent magnet motors deliver the equivalent of 400hp and 695Nm and help the SUV achieves 0-100kph in 4.5sec.
Jaguar claims the I-Pace’s new aluminium architecture delivers the brand’s most rigid body structure yet, with the battery placed centrally between the axles. These use a double-wishbone front and an integral link rear set-up with optional air suspension and configurable Adaptive Dynamics. The location of the battery allows for 50/50 front-to-rear weight distribution and a centre of gravity that’s 130mm lower than the F-Pace’s.
“We were obsessed with weight distribution,” said Hoban. “It must handle like a Jaguar.”
In its appearance, the I-Pace stays extraordinarily close to the concept version. Jaguar design director Ian Callum said the car is “the closest we’ve been in terms of a concept and a production car”.
The proportions of the car are very similar to a Porsche Macan’s but with a longer wheelbase, as is typical of EVs due to the positioning of the battery. The I-Pace measures 4682mm long – on a par with Jaguar’s XE saloon – with a wheelbase of 2990mm, 18mm more than the Macan. Callum said: “It has a relatively long wheelbase because of the battery. We brought the front occupant forward and kept the rear occupant where they were for space. It has the interior space of Cayenne but the dimensions of the Macan.”
Talking about the car’s cab-forward look, Callum said: “I wanted to capture the drama of a mid-engined sports car. I wanted to capture a little bit of that car we didn’t make, the C-X75.
“It’s probably the most exciting car project I’ve been responsible for. There was just the skateboard [chassis] and then we could do what we wanted, other than some safety requirements. For me, it’s the shape of the future.” The I-Pace pictured here sits on 22-inch wheels – Callum’s preference – but wheels as small as 18 inches are available.
Aerodynamics was a big focus in the design, with the squared-off rear helping to reduce the drag coefficient to 0.29. Active vanes in the grille open when cooling is required, and close when not needed to redirect air through the bonnet scoop, smoothing airflow. At the rear is a subtle lip spoiler (as well as the bigger spoiler on the windscreen). “It [the lip spoiler] was going to be an option but we decided all cars would have it to help aero,” said Callum. “The biggest focus for air is the side mirrors. We pulled the mirrors out quite a bit. It helps air stream and visibility.”
Callum said the I-Pace’s nose could not be any shorter because of crash regulations. Inside, Jaguar has “worked hard to maximise space in the car”, according to Callum. There are a number of storage areas in the front and rear, and the boot has 656 litres of capacity, compared with 500 litres in a Macan.
Jaguar’s Touch Pro Duo infotainment system has two screens in the centre column, where most functions are controlled. However, the I-Pace keeps traditional rotary controls too. Callum said: “I’m a great believer in more tactile feel in cars. For the moment, people are more used to touchscreens. I pushed hard to not follow the fashion for iPad-type screens.” The I-Pace has a number of connected features, such as battery pre-conditioning, where you can pre-heat or cool the cabin and battery while plugged in, using zero battery power.
It also uses artificial intelligence (AI) to calculate remaining range based on climate, weather, topography, driving style and traffic conditions. The AI can sense the number of occupants and adjust the climate control accordingly to make it as efficient as possible. The I-Pace is the first Jaguar to get over-the-air updates, which not only update infotainment and vehicle systems but also keep track of battery usage.
The I-Pace will be built at the Magna plant in Austria alongside the E-Pace. It shares a trim and final line with the E-Pace and has its own body-in-white facility. Deliveries will start in July. Europe, China and the US are all expected to be popular destinations for the zero-emissions model. California is due to be particularly important for sales, given its appetite for environmentally friendly vehicles, while Norway – known for its notable EV incentives – has taken the biggest number of I-Pace pre-orders.