When thinking about the rise of all-electric vehicles, the developments and innovations, or just the popularity, there are two words that spring to mind … Elon & Musk.
Yes, without a doubt there were other manufacturers pushing electric vehicle technology, but it would be a mistake to discount Musk’s contribution to the segment, for it has only really been since he put the might of his money, vision and knowledge in to the ring that developments have come thick and fast. ‘Agile Development’ is the phrase.
Around 2010, when the push for mass production really started, battery prices were around £750 per kWh, current prices stand around £150 per kWh, and it took the foresight of someone like Musk to recognise that despite high-prices, this market needed a real and viable alternative to fossil fuel.
Today, nearly every manufacturer has an EV or hybrid in their line-up, which brings us to Jaguar.
Jaguar has a reputation for style, speed and being quintessentially British (no jokes about certain vintages being nailed together in a shed near Birmingham), so it comes as no surprise that they’ve taken their time before joining the all-electric movement – they’ve waited until the technology is good enough to meet their demands, giving them the ability to offer something that will enhance the Jaguar branding, rather than jumping on the bandwagon for the sake of being able to offer something.
The I-PACE has been branded as the “ultimate all-electric performance SUV”, which is exactly why Jaguar held back – no point in just taking part, they want to lead the way. And with innovations such as the driveshafts running through each permanent magnet synchronous electric motor to give a more compact design, you can see why – more room on the inside, yet keeping a relatively small footprint.
In fact, the I-PACE can seat five comfortably, and has a class-leading 656 litres of storage at the rear, or 1,453 litres with the rear seats folded flat, it even has 27 litres of storage upfront.
The two electric motors are attached to an axle each, giving full four-wheel drive, and they’re based on the motors used in the I-TYPE Formula E racing car, good enough for 400PS (around 396 horsepower) and 696Nm of torque (or 513 lb/ft if you’re a traditional Jaguar owner), which is enough to give the I-PACE a 4.5 second 0-60 mph dash time.
And unlike many other manufacturers, Jaguar believe this setup is optimal (along with the 90kWh battery), which is why they won’t be offering numerous other (confusing) options. With the 90kWh battery, charging times can be as little as 1 hour 25 minutes for an 80% charge (using a typical public 50kW charger), which equates to around 168 miles for an hour’s charge, or charging at home using a standard plug will see around 7 miles per hour’s charging, with further options (such as the Jaguar wallbox) available.
To allay any concerns over battery life, Jaguar have warrantied the battery for 8-years or 100,000 miles, they’ve also included intelligent thermal management features to help prolong battery life and allow for sustained high levels of usage (meaning that you can ‘make progress’ for extended periods), and with neat features such as the ability to ‘pre-condition’ the cabin whilst still charging, battery life should be a non-event.
This is the first Jag to use the new Touch Pro Duo ‘Flight Deck’ infotainment system, a system that has been designed to be intuitive and easy to use. It controls pretty much everything, all through the use of touchscreens, capacitive sensors and physical controls (knobs & buttons). Using this technology allowed Jaguar to create a smart Electric Vehicle navigation system, which uses a combination of the topography and your driving style to estimate the journey, range and recharge points – forget the technical details – this is what all electric vehicles need, and Jaguar have aced it.
The I-PACE isn’t just another SUV, nor is it a vehicle that Jaguar have hastily cobbled together to allow them to join the EV club, it really is the next step forward in motoring.
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