Back in 2014, Jaguar could see that the future of automotive belonged to electricity, they knew that despite producing some fantastically beautiful cars such as the F-TYPE, fossil fuel was on its way out.
At first glance, it would seem that Jaguar were behind the curve; a number of manufacturers were already producing electric vehicles or hybrid versions of their regular models, but rather than panic productionising, they decided that it was going to be done to their normal standard, whatever they produced was going to be right.
It took four years, but when it was launched, the I-PACE was labelled as the most significant car that Jaguar has produced since the legend that was the E-TYPE. A bold claim.
Bolder still are the journalist reviews – the first real, viable & credible alternative to the more expensive Tesla.
After catching a glimpse of the I-PACE, you’d be forgiven in thinking that it’s just an electric version of the F-PACE – just another SUV. Look closer and you’ll see that despite similar proportions to an SUV, the styling is quite different; Ian Callum, Director of Design for Jaguar wanted a clean sheet design, which incorporated a ‘cab forward’ look.
In his own words: “Jaguar has been associated with long bonnets and big engines, but the I-PACE doesn’t have a big engine, so we don’t need the long bonnet. That has allowed us to bring the cabin forward, giving more room for the passengers, and giving the I-PACE its own unique styling and identity”.
The look of the I-PACE takes some getting used to, not because it’s ‘quirky’ or radical, but just because it’s different; nothing else on the market shares similar design.
The clean sheet design was possible purely because of the motive power force – electricity. There was no need to design a vehicle that had to incorporate an engine, transmission, extended driveline … all that it needed to incorporate was the battery compartment, affectionately known as the skateboard thanks to its resemblance – a low-slung flat base with a wheel at each corner.
That ‘skateboard’ battery platform also means that hustling the 2,133kg weight through a series of bends isn’t quite as dramatic as you may think – the centre of gravity is 130mm lower than its F-PACE counterpart, which means it’s as happy on a country road as it is a motorway. Not quite F-TYPE handling, but the closest that any vehicle of this type will get to it.
Real-world driving range can be up to around 340 miles under the right circumstances, but Jaguar have designed the I-PACE to deliver 292 miles under normal driving; many hours were spent testing in a full-scale wind-tunnel to iron out any small aerodynamic in-efficiencies which could have had a detrimental effect on the range.
Battery-power is just half of the story though – to go with the brand-new design, Jaguar created an unrivalled, patented electric motor, the likes of which leaves other manufacturers wondering where they went wrong. It produces close to 400 horsepower, and thanks to clever thermal management systems, it can sustain that level of usage indefinitely.
What you’re looking at here really is the future of motoring.
Jaguar completed over 1.5 million miles in testing, that’s hot climate, freezing cold, sustained high-speed, deep snow and even city driving – anything that you may encounter whether you live in the heart of the city, or the deepest rural parts of the south-west.
We know that one of the most pertinent questions will be “Will it work for me?” and the simple reality is this: providing your daily commute isn’t 200+ miles each way, and that you have access to a charging network, then yes. Very definitely.
Jaguar have taken a giant leap in to the future with the I-PACE, they’ve managed to get the balance of technical excellence-vs-exquisite craftsmanship just right. This is Jaguar at their finest – a world-beating product with dynamic driving ability and style to shame all but the prettiest of vehicles.
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