Before I took delivery of the first electric Jaguar, the I-Pace, I thought it would be a good idea to watch the Amazon Prime film, Jaguar Going Electric. Ex-Director of Design for Jaguar, Ian Callum, takes viewers through the car’s incredible journey, from drawing board idea to actual production, in what is a fascinating insight into how global car brands invest masses of time & money -1.5 billion pounds in R & D- to create a product that will appeal to customers. There is no second chance, especially with the German premium brands all jostling to get their new EV’s out, so the I-Pace is probably Jaguar’s most important launch ever.
As a fan of both the F-Pace & especially the E-Pace. I was eagerly anticipating the opportunity to spend some time with the I-Pace & having the benefit of a Rolec home charger, was able to drive a few hundred miles in it, without having to resort to public charge points. I have to say that those customers lucky enough to be in a position to have an I -Pace, will definitely not be disappointed.
Jaguar’s designer’s have created an electric SUV that delivers first & foremost the Jaguar experience. From the outside, the I-Pace looks fantastic, like a car from the future. Somehow, Jaguar have managed to keep the Jaguar ID, for example with the front grille, whilst simultaneously adding a massive air-vent to the bonnet to make the I-Pace more aerodynamic & totally unique. Plainly, they’ve considered the Tesla Model X when designing it, but where the Tesla is upright & long, in effect more like a sporty MPV, the I-Pace is squat & muscular, with short overhangs. The rear hatch is the most Tesla-like part of the car, but even that still packs a punch, finishing off the exterior with it’s signature rump.
We were testing the I-Pace HSE EV400 AWD, which comes, unsurprisingly, well equipped. It features Luxtec synthetic leather sports seats, 18″ 15 spoke alloys, electric cabin pre conditioning, LED head & tail lights, follow me home lighting, flush exterior door handles, a rear bike carrier preparation kit, enhanced brake regeneration, Jaguar Drive Control, 12.3″ interactive driver display, navigation pro, a smartphone pack for Apple CarPlay & Android Auto, a Meridian sound system, cruise control, lane keep assist & a rear camera.
Charging equipment includes a 7kW charger cable, which went straight into my Rolec home set up & a multi function 32A charging cable, which will plug in to a domestic socket.
Passengers will be pleased to know, that there’s generous head & leg room in both the front & rear & the cabin cocoons you in a happy way. We had the panoramic sunroof fitted to our test car & this draws light into what would otherwise be a fairly dark cabin. You will fit three adult rear passengers into the I-Pace, as leg rooms good, but, three adults together means that shoulder room will be tight.
Jaguar have cleverly created some storage space in places one wouldn’t expect. The centre console has been hollowed out, with a hidden space underneath, just big enough for a small bag. This section also contains two USB charging ports. In the rear, there’s trays beneath the rear seats, which are the perfect size for storing an I Pad or laptop plus, rear passengers also get twin USB ports & a 12v socket. The central armrest has a 10-litre cubby underneath with a further two USB ports inside plus another 12v socket. In front of this there’s two drinks spaces & a clever rectangular fitting for your mobile phone. Both front door pockets are a decent size & will each take a small bottle.
The way that the I-Pace has been designed, mans that there’s an excellent amount of boot space with 656 litres on offer. Drop the rear seats down & this goes up to a more than useful 1,453 litres. The two charging cables are stored under the boot’s flat floor & of course, as there’s no engine, you get a few litres of storage space at the front under the bonnet.
The 90kWh battery installed into the floor of the new Jaguar I-Pace is what make’s this car different. Jaguar claims a range of up to 298 miles but with the way it handles & a 0-60mph of just 4.5 seconds, we would seriously question this. The I-Pace begs to be driven & as we found out, a range of 180-200 miles on a single charge is more realistic, if you drive in Eco mode rather than in Comfort or in Dynamic. The 90kWh battery which drives the two electric motors to give 4WD, develops 396bhp & 696Nm of torque, more than enough to tempt even the most pessimistic petrol-head.
Having a Rolec 7kW home charger, makes all the difference to owning an EV & the I-Pace is no different. We were able to drive 100 motorway miles from full, which was 251 miles on delivery, whilst seeing the range drop from 251to 96 miles, which wasn’t a great start. Travelling at much over 70mph really does drain the battery, so this all-motorway reading, wasn’t really a surprise.
The good news though, is that once you slow down & drive in urban areas, or on A & B roads, at 30-40mph, the economy improves. The 96 mile range we had left in our battery, actually gave us 88 miles of driving before we were warned to re charge.
Charging from almost near zero to full using the Rolec 7kWh home charger, took us 10.5 hours & works out at a cost of around £8-£10 of electricity, depending on your supplier. If you don’t have a home charger, you’ll need to plug in the 32A charging cable into a domestic socket. This though, is not to be encouraged as it will take twice as long to charge the battery & will also cost more as well.
We reckoned our £8, bought us approximately 180 miles of range, about two thirds cheaper than it would cost to buy 180 miles in an average family petrol hatchback. Compare the cost to go 180 miles in the kind of petrol powered car that offers the I-Pace’s performance & it’s at the very least three quarters cheaper running on electricity than petrol, a sobering thought & one that many customers will be swayed by.
Driving in town in a silent car, can be dangerous to pedestrians & so Jaguar have fitted a synthetic soundtrack, which you can adjust from ‘calm’ to ‘dynamic’ to warn unsuspecting passes by that you’re near. I utilised this a couple of times, but to be honest it didn’t seem that necessary. The I-Pace is hardly invisible. Moving off is is achieved by pushing the D for Drive button, with an R button for Reverse & a P button for Park. There’s an electric hand brake, which is located on the right side of the steering wheel on the lower part of the dashboard.
The cabin layout & equipment mirrors those found in other Jags & Range Rovers, including the touchscreen infotainment system. This system works well, but it isn’t as large or as much fun as the massive tablet screen or system, fitted in the Tesla. The heating controls are clever. Twist the dial to increase the temperature, push it to engage the electric heated seats or pull it up, to increase the fan speed. The 12.3″ drivers digital display in front of you is also a nice touch.
For the first few days it was with me, I only drove the I-Pace on the motorway & although it’s an excellent motorway companion, driving in relatively straight lines & on a lot of speed restricted sections, it wasn’t giving me the pazzaz I was hoping for in Jaguar’s latest new model. Then, as if by magic, I took the I-Pace out on some local country roads & despite it’s weight of almost 2.2 tonnes, the I-Pace managed to put a massive smile on my face.
As a proper five door SUV, the I-Pace defies convention. It’s not only quick, but offers the driver a sports-car-like experience, with exceptional balance & handling. Speed into a corner & the I-Pace offers little or no body roll, hugging the road & allowing you to enter & exit at speed. A series of S bends presents no problem for this Jaguar & what had at first seemed to me anyway, a Tesla wannabe, proved that it’s so much more. As Jaguar-man, Arthur Daley would have said, ” This is a seriously good motor.” Composed, comfortable, hell it’s even exciting, with the rapid acceleration allowing you to drive with a permanent smile on your face. Factor in the oh-so-comfortable seats & comfortable well equipped interior & the I-Pace delivers on many levels.
Our range topper the HSE costs £74,995 which at first glance, looks great. Factor in extras though, for example the fixed panoramic roof £960, powered tailgate £400 & active air suspension £1,100 & things can get a lot more expensive. In truth, most I-Pace customers will not buy their car but will lease it either through work or personally, so the monthly cost is more relevant for company car drivers.With zero CO2 emissions, the Benefit in Kind from April 2020 for tax year 2020/21, will be 0% across the I-Pace range, which also includes two more models, the entry level S, priced at £64,495 or the SE, priced at £69,995. Despite the withdrawal of the Government grant, of £3,000 for electric cars that cost over £50,000, the 0% BIK more than anything else, should encourage non-believers to try one.
In a world where technology changes faster every day, not least when it comes to electric cars, Jaguar have produced a car that’s not just for now, but for a good few years to come. With their new EV, they’ve managed to retain the Jaguar DNA & heritage & have produced a car that is as comfortable to be in as XJ’s of old, whilst offering blistering up-to-date F-Pace performance, all from a brand new battery-powered car.
Given a choice, I would have no hesitation in choosing the I-Pace over the Tesla. The German marques have a very hard act to follow.
Back to the Future 4.5/5