2019 Jaguar I-Pace
New I-Pace brings style to the EV utility segment
Posted on December 3, 2018
Not long ago, EVs were all small, subcompacts with just enough range to commute to work, assuming your workplace was nearby. And on top of the short range, most electrics drove a lot like a mobile appliance. But six years ago, Tesla’s Model S turned that dynamic on its head and ever since then I’ve been waiting for a competitive response from the established auto industry. Jaguar’s I-Pace, designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle, is the first to go head-to-head with our now world-famous Bay Area electric car company. And this time, the competition is a no-excuses rival with competitive technology, performance, and range along with Jaguar’s fashionable design.
I’ve been a fan of Tesla’s original Model S styling, especially the first few years when it sported a grille up front. I know, there’s no radiator or gas engine to cool, so Tesla’s current plain face is different and it adds to aerodynamics. On the other hand, Jaguar’s design chief Ian Callum decided to retain his brand’s trademark appearance without sacrificing aero affects. With Callum’s design, air flows in through the grille and out through a hood vent to exit over the windshield and roof. And there’s another aero trick: the rear spoiler is designed with a vent to drive air over the back glass, eliminating the need for a windshield wiper.
Although the entire shape of the I-Pace was driven by electric vehicle architecture, with the battery creating a skateboard platform and low wind resistance to enable EV range performance, the result is great curb appeal. Unlike upcoming German rivals whose new EVs look like traditional SUVs, the Jaguar is svelte and fresh.
When Jaguar decided to develop its own pure electric vehicle, the company didn’t have electric motor suppliers beating on its door to provide those important components. That turned into a win when one of its engineers pitched his own unique design, and the result is evidenced behind the wheel. The operating software is also quite advanced, enabling power to be directed where it’s needed, while switchable drive modes allow it to behave like a petrol car if that’s your wish.
Jaguar engineers created over-the-air software updates for battery management and infotainment systems without exposing critical safety systems to possible hacking. And, the software team did a great job with the state of charge and range reporting, along with iOS and Android apps for charge times and vehicle pre-conditioning.
Lastly, this is a Jaguar you’ll enjoy driving with spirit. It’s light and low, so corner carving is just as easy as its 0-to-60 acceleration of just 4.5 seconds. When you’re not in a hurry, it’s a nice, quiet cruise experience with an optional Meridian audio system providing luxury listening. I’d say the future is pretty darn good. Brian Douglas
2019 Jaguar I-Pace
Type: Battery electric all-wheel-drive
Motors: Two 197 HP Jaguar electric motors
Horsepower: 394 HP combined
Torque: 512 lb.ft. combined
Base Price: $70,495*
Price as Tested: $86,495*
Range: 240 miles (mfg. estimate)
*Before federal and state tax credits
Photo courtesy of Jaguar