All-electric SUV will be with customers in the summer; we ride shotgun to see how it feels
Mark Tisshaw
5 December 2017

The Jaguar I-Pace will go on sale in the UK in March next year – the same month that it receives its world debut at the Geneva motor show – and it will be with customers from the summer.

The model is Jaguar’s first electric car and built on a bespoke aluminium-intensive architecture. It will be the second Jaguar model to be built overseas, production due to take place by contract manufacturing firm Magna in Graz, Austria, where the E-Pace is also being built.

The I-Pace is now in the final stages of testing at the ‘tooling try-out’ stage, where the prototypes, like the one pictured here, are made using production tooling for the first time and are 99% representative of the finished car’s hardware.

As the pictures show, the I-Pace remains true to the design of the concept car of the same name a year ago, as a near 4.7m-long five-seat SUV. Jaguar is still not disclosing statistics about the car’s performance or range but, as with the design, it is promising the engineering will stay true to the concept car.

The concept’s range was in excess of 310 miles and it dispatched 0-60mph in a claimed 4.0sec. It had two electric motors for a combined 395bhp and 516lb ft, and a 90kWh lithium ion battery pack mounted on the floor. Jaguar is targeting an 80% charge of the batteries in the time it would take to have a coffee break.

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The major electrical components, such as the lithium ion battery pack and twin electric motors, are all Jaguar’s own in-house design and the electric motors are said to be the most power dense of their size on the market.

The I-Pace’s lead powertrain engineer, Simon Patel, said the final tweaks to the calibration of the electric drivetrain are being made to ready it for production, but the major development was now complete.

The car will have some off-road ability, but its primary role will be to offer a dynamic drive that the firm prides all its models on having. The chassis is being set up to offer a firm, sporty ride, but a supple one. Steel springs will be standard, with air suspension and adaptive dampers optional. The suspension and steering systems are borrowed from the F-Pace but have been adapted for the I-Pace.

Two levels of regenerative braking will be offered: a standard mode to replicate how a conventionally powered car would react to the driver coming off the throttle; and a more aggressive mode that allows the car to be effectively driven with one pedal.

The production car will have permanent four-wheel drive and use torque vectoring by braking to enhance the handling. The centre of gravity is 100mm lower than an F-Pace’s and that is being tipped to aid the dynamic drive.

In the development process, some 200 prototypes have been driven for more than 1.5 million miles. The project has been worked on by more than 500 engineers over four years.

Riding in the new Jaguar I-Pace

We’re riding in the sixth car to be built in this latest run of near production-ready prototypes, with lead powertrain engineer Simon Patel driving. He’s beaming at the performance: this car could out-accelerate many a supercar it shares the roads of Beverly Hills with on our seven-mile ride. It is rapid, the torque instantaneous.

The cabin is draped in black cloth to shroud the design and details, but it can’t hide the airy feel of the interior and a driving position that’s low slung for an SUV. There’s decent room in the back, too, with stadium-style seating.

The ride is firm but not uncomfortable and the car has an excellent turning circle. It’s also very quiet. Patel says it’s about 6-8dB lower than in an equivalent piston-engined car, and the noise from the powertrain under hard acceleration gives an exciting whoosh rather than a whiny drone.

The I-Pace forgets almost every Jaguar convention in its design, layout and technology, yet also displays many welcome familiar traits. Here’s to the future.

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Comments
12

6 December 2017

I think I'm impressed but how long is a coffee break?

6 December 2017

Thank you for a sober, level-headed review. (The write-up in an American magazine made it sound like the greatest thing in the history of the world.)

6 December 2017

One of the most important if not the most exciting new car release next year, it's certainly Jaguar's.   

Can't wait for the reviews, well done JLR!  Now when's a Jag £39,000 EV due

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

6 December 2017

Please make an electric car.... The world is groaning with ugly SUVs....

6 December 2017
Ruaraidh wrote:

Please make an electric car.... The world is groaning with ugly SUVs....

I dislike most SUVs these days, especially "crossovers", but to me this looks more like something in the same vein as a Citroen DS5 or - whisper it - a Vel Satis - than some fat a**ed cladded crossover.

6 December 2017
Ruaraidh wrote:

Please make an electric car.... The world is groaning with ugly SUVs....

Why does everyone on here bitch about SUVs. They're OBVIOUSLY what the public want, they OBVIOUSLY sell well, and the profits they raise OBVIOUSLY help fund the development of cars the so called enthusiasts want.

6 December 2017

Love the look of the car, but where is the Europe-wide charging infrastructure for this car ? Tesla seem to have this completely licked, our company Tesla just last week managed an effortless and troublefree return trip to an exhibition in Frankfurt, using the Tesla supercharger network. Will customers be able to do the same with the Jaguar, I've seen nothing written about the charging arrangements /

6 December 2017

Could have fooled me.

Any road, sounds like the drivetrain of this thing could be something quite special. Let's hope it doesn't ride too hard, has good range and is reliable.

wmb

6 December 2017

...that JLR let Jaguar build the I-Pace, and not let the first model off of that EV SUV platform be a Land Rover model! They will produce a Ranger Rover from those bones (economies of scale demand it!), so I guess the question is when and what will it look like? The other question that I have is, while an EV sedan makes sense due to its in city driving and long trips. But with an SUV, if one were to use it as it was originally intended (e.i.: for long treks into the great out doors with the family, well away from civilization), where would one CHARGE an EV SUV under those circumstances? That could easily turn into a oneway drive, with a long walk home with the wife and children! 

6 December 2017

" long treks into the great out doors with the family, well away from civilization" just how far can you be from a power point in the UK?

Also why are people so hung-up on the SUV tag, when a Mercedes or BMW put a AMG-x or M-xxx tag on every other car they produce I don't remember the anger in every other post.

Just think of it as a THB (Tall Hatch Back) then read about the performance, fuel costs, quiet smooth running and see how great and advanced a British car marque might be producing.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

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