Jaguar promises a WLTP range of 258 miles for our version of the I-Pace, and after a recent software update, it’ll honestly deliver most of that in summer (25 miles less at this time of the year). That’s a decent performance for an SUV of its size (4.7m long) and weight (2.2 tonnes).
Everything works beautifully so long as you use the car for commuting and shortish journeys. If you’re back on your own drive in 30-80 miles, your car will need only a tickle, or nothing at all, to be ready for action the next day. Given the I-Pace’s superb driving characteristics (more later) and the fact that fuelling is one-third to one-fifth the cost of petrol or diesel, it’s hard to think of a better car for your fairly short-haul purpose.
But Autocar’s I-Pace has often been used for longer journeys, usually against the clock. In such situations, there’s almost never time for a charging session on the way to a destination (so often 100 miles away), which means you need either an extended period of careful driving to get home in a near-empty state of charge, or a 20-40min rapid charge on the return leg. Either is easy in theory but both require time and planning. And when you’ve had a life of carefree petrol/diesel refuelling, it’s hard to tell yourself this is progress. Some will say I’m making a meal of it, but my stern warning is that even when your electric car is as good as this I-Pace, wise potential customers will check its capabilities against their real-world requirements before buying.
Now for those glorious driving factors: there is nothing in the affordable petrol world to match the clean, easy off-the-line response of a really great electric car like the I-Pace, which is driven at each end by a separate electric motor to provide superb traction in the worst weather. The precision is breathtaking, and so is the speed and accuracy of response to your commands.
You have to try it to believe it, and when you do, you’ll also discover that deceleration is just as powerful and precise. There’s almost no noise or vibration; you suddenly feel pity for those people still stuck in the it-has-to-be-noisy world. Engine notes can be great, but this kind of refinement is every bit as inspirational, especially when the car to which it is attached can deliver a 4.5sec 0-60mph sprint in total serenity.
While averaging nearly 1800 miles every month, we have never tired of the I-Pace’s flat, quiet, semi-sporting ride, although we have wondered if it’d be even better riding on 20in wheels and tyres rather than eye-grabbing 22s. But the body control and bump absorption are still great.
The long wheelbase delivers a beautiful feeling of directional stability but it also affects the car’s manoeuvring. (Turning circle is far from being the I-Pace’s strongest suit.) Talking of steering, we always enjoyed its firmness and accuracy and the wheel was delicious to use because it was covered with optional suede cloth. We’d have to pay the £600 option price, even though it would seem like highway robbery. On every journey, the driving made our I-Pace special and memorable.