It started as a research project. But as chief engineer Dave Shaw tells us, the first EV Big Cat proved too strong to be caged
Mark Tisshaw
22 January 2019

The Jaguar I-Pace was one of 2018’s standout new models, and represents a huge engineering statement from the UK.

Here, chief engineer Dave Shaw tells us how it will evolve and discusses the prospects of more electric Jaguars in the future. 

Q: How has electrification changed Jaguar

A: “EV has opened eyes in Jaguar Land Rover to the way the world is changing, and the speed of change. With the possibilities of the technology, there are no limits to it. When you start, you have a tick list of things you think are negatives, but you work through them and they soon disappear – it’s a no-compromise offering. [The I-Pace] even changed within JLR – it started as a research project and look what it is now.” 

Q: Has JLR’s size helped it to embrace electrification quicker than others? 

A: “You’re blessed with flexibility with electrification – there are no limits for any size of company for the technology. It’s coming, no matter what the company size.” Has it changed the mindset within JLR? “It’s changed profoundly, even me. I’m an absolute petrolhead, and didn’t want to do it! Now I’ve got my own and have done 20,000 miles in it – I’d never go back. It just fits in, with no compromises.” 

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Q: How did Jaguar get the I-Pace to market before rivals? 

A: “I don’t think we answered the questions needed to make an electric car before anyone else, as the whole industry is doing it. But we had some very strong-minded individuals, like Dr Wolfgang Ziebart [JLR’s former engineering boss] who said we are going to do this and that it is the right thing to do. It built up a head of steam, and tapped into the fact we rise to engineering challenges in the UK. We like those kinds of challenges.” 

Q: How long did it take to make? 

A: “We started three years ago. The project was X590 – the brief from Dr Ziebart was to make the best Jaguar electric car. Then it changed to making the best EV in the world. The project then changed – it started out as only a research project, but then we started to solve all the problems and it became real.” 

Q: How will the I-Pace evolve over its life? 

A: “You can expect constant updates. As an industry, the car has to stay relevant. With electric cars and over-the-air updates, the car is no longer out of date soon after you drive it out of the showroom. Most cars get quickly out of date, but we have the ability to update now over the air.” 

Q: Will you produce other variants of the I-Pace? 

A: “The mindset of an electric car buyer is completely different – it’s not about being faster or slower, it’s more about how it fits into a lifestyle. It’s not really about power – you can change the power but you don’t necessarily feel that level of difference.” 

Q: Will it spawn other versions over time or be a moment in time car? 

A: “It will evolve and continue to do so with software. It’s not a moment in time car, it’s a great car and a great Jaguar, and with technology we want to develop and build on.” 

Q: How can it inform other Jaguars? 

A: “Both in the mindset and in other EVs. It will inspire our interiors to move forward – we acknowledge what we need to do to Jaguar interiors and the I-Pace will inform our thinking. We now have all the lessons of building an electric car and that stands us in good stead. The mindset shift puts us in great shape for the future. There’s a buzz on EVs, and all engineers here are revved up for the possibilities.” 

Q: Is there scope for Jaguar to be radical and only make electric cars? 

A: “On a personal note, who knows? This has given us an opportunity for the future to see which way it goes. Making an EV has been a good move.” 

Q: How will history view the I-Pace? 

“It will call it a transformative time for Jaguar cars. I’m already planning my retirement and see it as an ‘I was there, we did that’ moment. If the F-Pace was a game changer, this is a different sport. When we look back on the I-Pace, it will be the moment we started doing something new and thinking differently, I hope.” 

Q: How do you follow it up? 

A: “We have to keep going forwards, and the business is united behind it. We’ll take all of these lessons learned and the problems solved, and push to the future.”

Read more

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Join the debate


22 January 2019

“How Jaguar plans to follow the I-Pace”

’Q: How do you follow it up?’

’A: We have to keep going forwards......’

That’s it? The answer to the whole point proposed by the article is ‘keep going forwards’. Journalism at its finest.

22 January 2019
335d wrote:

“How Jaguar plans to follow the I-Pace”

’Q: How do you follow it up?’

’A: We have to keep going forwards......’

That’s it? The answer to the whole point proposed by the article is ‘keep going forwards’. Journalism at its finest.

If that was the interviewee's answer, then that must be what Autocar publishes. Are you suggesting they should publish something diferent, a lie, just so you won't think the answer is boring?

22 January 2019

Grow up Bob. Lying does not come into it. Autocar claim to be staffed by journalists not yes-men. Any journalist worth his salary would challenge such an obviously patronising obfuscation. Challenge, challenge, challenge. Or in this case, accept, note down, limp handshake, pick up pay cheque. Shocking waste of opportunity - Jaguar man goes away laughing knowing he has taken ownership of Autocar journo, and given away absolutely zip. 

22 January 2019


Only because of Tesla...

22 January 2019

I know there has been countless technical comparisons and the model X always comes out on top, but this is tons nicer than anything Tesla (or anyone for that matter) has to offer.

22 January 2019

I wouldn't want "Over the Air" updates. I hope if/when I have a car with this feature then I can turn it off. I want to select what and when I update  - preferably after I've seen that it doesn't cause more issues than it solves (think Microsoft).

Connectivity and "Over the Air" updates is open season for the bad guys. We'll be told it's 100% secure. It won't be, the bad guys, or even just the teenage geeks with a point to prove will hack it. Safety might be compromised. No thanks car makers, think this through.

22 January 2019

Software updates are a very uncommon source of malware. A bigger risk would be downloading a rogue app for your car which then infects the operating system.

22 January 2019

Driving down the M1...

"Update being downloaded....update being installed...please restart your car to install the update...your car will restart in 10 minutes unless you click here..."

22 January 2019

An interesting read, and an excellent high point for Mr Shaw.

However, where's the info on the future electric saloon touted to replace the XJ?

Info on how electrification will tie with this new "MLA" architechture from JLR?

AutoCar - more questions than answers.


....of course, this being JLR - the answers won't exist yet.

First is rarely best.

22 January 2019

In December the Jaguar I-pace was the best selling car in the Netherlands taking 13% of the market, selling over 2600 units. This is the future & I for one am looking forward to it.


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