The world of cars is changing – and so are Jaguars…
Jaguar has been quick to embrace electric power and its first leap into the foray of battery technology is the I-Pace. So, has Jaguar hit the ground running with its first production EV, or does the development team need more time to reach full charge?
Ladies and gentlemen, here is Jaguar’s first all-electric car. It seems only five minutes ago we were laughing at the deathtrap happily christened the G-Wiz, but now the reality is that every manufacturer has their fingers in the electrical socket.
And to be honest, based on Jaguar’s first attempt, the future doesn’t look at all bad. Firstly, as with most Jaguar Land Rover products these days, a handsome machine greets you, blessed with a swooping body and a hunkered stance, all combining to make a car that looks rather futuristic.
There are some attractive design elements, such as the vents in the bonnet and Range Rover Velar-derived door handles that disappear out of sight whilst on the move, plus the appealing design isn’t just limited to the exterior.
Jump in and you’ll find a spacious five-seat vehicle with a commodious boot, but it’s the driver’s seat where you can appreciate more of the cabin. That deep-dish steering wheel, for example, along with the buttons used to select your gears are both nice touches – in fact, generally everything in this interior feels premium.
Thankfully, Jaguar has also adopted the infotainment system from the Velar, so you end up with a setup that works and does everything you need it to, along with the knowledge this cutting-edge technology runs throughout the entire vehicle.
So far, so ordinary then, but of course when you fire up the motor, you’re no longer igniting something as mundane as a fossil fuel-powered engine. Your first clue is the lack of a rev counter displayed in front of you and the absence of any noise, other than perhaps your own breath – and that’ll soon be taken away, too.
Jaguar’s I-Pace uses a combination of electric motors at the front and rear axles in conjunction with a 90kWh lithium-ion battery, which in layman terms gives you all-wheel-drive and around 400hp in old-fashioned power figures. You might think that sounds like quite a lot of power for an EV – and you’d be right. This pulsing feline can hit 60mph from a standing start in just 4.5 seconds. The I-Pace really is electric, then.
But how does that translate from paper to tarmac? Well, other than the initial whirr of the motor working away underneath you, the I-Pace is civilised and a comfy, refined method of getting around, with Jaguarish ride qualities and a steering setup that is heavier than you’d expect, but not in a negative way. It gives you confidence and there’s stableness to its feel, and I like the sense that it’s still the human behind the wheel calling the shots.
However, at the flick of a switch, the I-Pace is capable of changing its personality, and the way you probably currently perceive electric cars. Applying full throttle in the I-Pace is an experience like no other I’ve encountered before. It’s not so much the power that will keep you pinned into your seat, but the 513lb ft of torque may have a say in it.
Because all that torque is available from the moment you place your foot on the throttle, and you have all-wheel-drive, the acceleration feels very similar to the type of launch you get on Rita at Alton Towers. It’s fantastic, and with a real-world range of over 200 miles, not only is the I-Pace a great display of new technology, but it also illustrates that the technology can be a genuine alternative for the future.