Jaguar I-Pace concept first drive
Wilson added that information isn’t just moving in one direction, and says development work on the I-Pace, which is due to launch in 2018, is also helping Jaguar’s racing team improve its Formula E car. He said: “The automotive team are getting good information for protection systems around the high voltage electrics, to make sure that we don’t cause any trips or component failures from a reliability point of view. This information is being given back to the racing team."
Wilson also believes Jaguar Racing’s late entry into Formula E, where it has had to play catch-up on rivals who have two years more experience, has benefitted the road division’s work because the development pace on both sides is matched.
“It’s been a very aggressive, heads down approach [for Formula E],” he said. “I-Pace is going through a similar journey with a dedicated project team, so there’s definitely good understanding between the two teams and how to optimise the work.”
Jaguar I-Pace: new pics of production-spec electric SUV
Alongside the technical benefits, Jaguar’s entry in Formula E is expanding its market reach to people who are pro-electric transport, something that team director James Barclay believes is vital ahead of the launch of the I-Pace. He told Autocar “By 2020, nearly half our range will have electric or hybrid electric powertrains. So from our point of view, that’s where we’re going so absolutely there’s a plan in place [with Formula E] to communicate that.”
Barclay also thinks competing in Formula E will make Jaguar’s electric models more desirable, because people will associate them with performance. He told Autocar: “From a consumer point of view, to see technology that’s developed in racing, it becomes clear that we’re not just developing a car that’s fantastic on range, it’s also great to drive and you will be able to push in terms of performance.
“For us as Jaguar it’s always been about producing a good driver’s car. Formula E is not just pushing efficiency, it’s also pushing us to maximise performance."