Jaguar unveiled the battery-electric I-Pace SUV as its first all-electric vehicle, just ahead of the Geneva motor show where this new model will make its world debut. Due to go on sale later this year, the I-Pace will set its sights upon a number of luxury EVs, and will soon be joined by a number of competitors from several automakers also aiming to get a slice of the EV pie.
When it comes to design the all-new battery-electric SUV is staying close to the I-Pace concept that Jaguar debuted two years ago, featuring a sleek roofline and the exterior dimensions close to those of the Jaguar F-Pace. The production version has an overall length of 184.3 inches, making its dimensions relatively modest and landing the I-Pace in the compact SUV segment. The relatively short height of the vehicle is offset by a hatch-like profile, as well as a cab-forward design unrestricted by traditional engine components underhood. This buys the production version of the I-Pace plenty of passenger room, as the battery is located underneath the floor, as well as a favorable drag coefficient of 0.29Cd owing to the sleek hood that houses intakes for battery cooling and the A/C system.
“The I-Pace’s electric powertrain offered us unprecedented design freedom,” said Ian Callum, Jaguar Director of Design. “Starting with a clean sheet enabled the dramatic cab-forward profile, unique proportions and exceptional interior space — yet it is unmustakably a Jaguar. We wanted to design the world’s most desirable EV, and I’m confident that we’ve met that challenge.”
The I-Pace combines the bodystyle of a tall hatchback with SUV proportions, similar in size to the F-Pace.
At this point we should probably mention the two most crucial stats, at least in the modern marketplace, about any EV: Range and price. The price will be announced later next week, but the range is rated by Jaguar as up to 240 miles on a full charge. (The range is north of 300 miles in the European NEDC driving cycle). The more exciting stats for car people are 394 hp and 512 lb-ft of torque that the I-Pace will put down on the pavement with all four wheels. With a 0 to 60 mph launch time of 4.5 seconds the I-Pace is in what was considered supercar territory not too long ago, and it lands firmly among performance EVs today.
How long will you have to wait during charging times, waiting to go out on the road and school just about all other EVs from the lights? Jaguar says that using a 100kW DC fast charger the I-Pace can juice up its 90kWh lithium-ion battery to 80 percent battery charge in just 40 minutes, but using a regular 230V AC wall box owners can get the same amount of battery charge in over 10 hours.
The I-Pace will pack plenty of versatility aside from the ability to rip it from a standstill, and Jaguar designed its first EV with luxury and ease of use in mind.
“We set out to design an emotive and atmospheric interior that excites the senses, where the driver is central to the experience and passengers are afforded the space they need,” Callum said. “Being inside the I-Pace is to experience something special and that is what a Jaguar is all about.”
The infotainment system and controls will feature touchscreens, physical buttons and capacitive sensors and a separate 12.3-inch digital dash.
Lacking a traditional transmission tunnel the interior offers plenty of room and storage space, with details such as trays placed under the rear seats for small items. Out back, the I-Pace boasts 25.3 cu. ft. of luggage space with the rear seats in their upright and locked positions, while serving up 51.0 cu. ft. with the rear seats folded flat.
“Advanced double wishbone front and integral link rear suspension deliver both incredible ride comfort and the lateral stiffness needed during dynamic driving, ensuring excellent handling, grip and steering responses,” Jaguar says. “The compact and lightweight suspension design features aluminum suspension links and knuckles to reduce weight, while maximizing interior space.”
“Standard air suspension with available Adaptive Dynamics featuring continously variable shock absorbers also give the I-Pace true sporting agility and balance. The self-levelling system is designed to maintain the optimum suspension geometry even when the vehicle is fully loaded and lower the vehicle when at speed to optimize aerodynamic efficency. As a result, occupants enjoy supreme comfort as the suspension provides a combination of bump absorption and body control that feels calm and natural in a variety of conditions.”
Helping the I-Pace conserve energy and brake pads is regenerative braking, which in this vehicle will give drivers the option of single-pedal driving as well as high or low levels of regenerative braking; when set on High, lifting off the accelerator will offer single-pedal driving in certain conditions.
The I-Pace will offer all-wheel-drove, and quite a lot of interior space helped by the lack of a transmission tunnel.
The I-Pace is also filled with the latest driving tech that incorporates artificial intelligence machine learning to automate certain tasks to reduce the number of possible distractions for the driver, including features like an available head-up display and a navigation system that can suggest routes closer to charging stations and parking garages. The I-Pace will also recognize the driver’s daily habits, offering the usual climate control, seat and infotainment settings, or remind the driver to take their smartphone with the before exiting the vehicle. Amazon Alexa Skill will also be a part of the new I-Pace, permitting the owners to ask an Alexa enable device for information, like the vehicle’s current charging level, via the Jaguar InControl Remote app from outside of their vehicles.
No word yet whether the artificial intelligence system will offer reminders to other people in traffic that the I-Pace is the electric one, while E-Pace is the gas-engined one, but at least it’s compatible with Apple’s naming conventions.
The I-Pace is due to go on sale in the U.S. in the second half this year (just ask for the electric one to avoid calling it the E-Pace at the dealership), with a starting price in the neighborhood of $70,000 for the base trim level. Concrete U.S. pricing will be announced on March 6 in Geneva.