Here’s a thing – the new Jaguar I-Pace is fast. Like really fast. And I reckon Tesla should watch out because not only will the I-Pace see off a Model X 100D, it looks better and is bound to be built better. Rolling down the line at Austria’s Magna-Steyr – alongside E-Pace – the I is Jaguar’s game-changer.
The I-Pace feels like it has been a long time coming, but it’s hugely important. It’s not just important to Jaguar, but to the whole industry. It’s the first non-Tesla electric SUV and it will set the tone for the rest of the business.
Like the Tesla, the I-Pace was conceived and designed as an EV, meaning no compromises. There’s no room for a conventional engine so no foot-in-each-camp nonsense. Jaguar says it designed the electric motors themselves to deliver 294kW (400PS) and a stonking 696Nm.
That’s enough to send the I-Pace on to 100km/h in 4.4 seconds, just a shade quicker than a standard Model X 100D. If you drive a little more sedately, Jaguar reckons you’ll get 480km or almost 300 miles out of the 90kWh lithium-ion battery (based on the new WLTP European testing cycle). The US EPA test reckons 389km (240 miles), which is still pretty good.
And before you fire up about the Model X, a P100D will show it a clean gigantic backside, quicker still if you pay for Ludicrous Mode.
The rapid charging stations Jaguar is planning to install will give you 100km of range in 15 minutes and an 80 percent charge in 40 minutes. Interestingly, the company is coy on 100 percent charge, probably because the last 20 percent takes ages and isn’t good for battery longevity.
Charging at home is rather slower, with an overnight charge (10 hours) getting you to 80 percent, but you’ll need the 7kW AC wall box for that. Jaguar reckons that’s good for most customers who will be able to charge on overnight off-peak electricity (cheaper, if you were wondering what that means).
The two motors are mounted one at each end and chat to each other to decide which wheels need torque. I find the Tesla dual motors aren’t too flash on the power shuffling and mimicking a good diff, so it will be interesting to see what Jaguar has done. Jaguar may not be new to car-building, but it is new to electric.
The chassis is completely aluminium and Jaguar says it’s the stiffest in its range. It also has a 50/50 weight distribution figure, which bodes very well indeed for handling. That and the low position of the batteries means it should corner super-flat. The I-Pace has double wishbones up front and an “integral link rear axle”. Should you feel the need, you can spec air suspension as well.
Despite all the aluminium it won’t be light. The motors weigh just 38kg each but the overall weight of the car is 2133kg. But the low centre of gravity (lower than F-Pace) and even weight distribution should make it good to drive. If it’s anywhere near as fun as the E-Pace – and it should be with all that grunt – Jag’s on to a winner.
As with most electric cars, the interior should be reasonably spacious, with a flat floor and some funky features.
Jaguar called the new media system Touch Pro Duo. Using a bewildering combination of “touchscreens, capacitive sensors and tactile physical controls”, Jaguar says it’s intuitive. I think I need to play with it before I pass judgement, but it certainly looks good in there.
The I-Pace has integration with Amazon’s Ask Alexa, too, which will be interesting. You can ask Alexa things like “Is my car locked?”, or whatever is in the InControl app.
You can also get remote access to fire up the air-con or heating while plugged in. It recognises key and the Bluetooth signature of your phone and set the car up for you. That’s quite nifty.
The nav system is EV-centric, checking out how many curves and hills are between you and your destination. It will also have a think about the previous trips you’ve taken to tell you whether or not you’ll make it comfortably.
Jag also says it’s big inside with the room of a large SUV and I’ve seen nothing that suggests otherwise.
The Jaguar I-Pace debuts at the Geneva Motor Show and will probably be one of the big stars. As it should be.
Check out our earlier story on the I-Pace racing series
Watch our Jaguar F-Type SVR Review
Read all of our Jaguar stories here
Flick through the gallery below for Jaguar I-Pace interior photos, exterior photos and some funky infographics.
Jaguar I-Pace Exterior Photos
Jaguar I-Pace Interior Photos
Peter Anderson is the Editor and founder of the theredline.com.au. He’s been writing about cars for years and finds it difficult to talk about anything else.