Will an extended time at the wheel and newer EV rivals dilute the appeal of Jaguar's first electric car? We have four months to find out...
Steve Cropley Autocar
16 October 2019
Jaguar I-Pace 2019 long-term

Why we’re running it: To discover how deploying the premium EV’s mighty acceleration dovetails with preserving its electric range

Month 2Month 1 - Specs

Life with a Jaguar I-Pace: Month 2

Cables tidied - 25th September 2019

Emplekosyrmaphobia, or the fear of tangled wires, is not something you’ll worry about in the I-Pace. The Jag has stealthily hidden USB ports built into its expansive centre console for keeping your phone (and its cable) out of sight. Less useful is their inability to work with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay – for them you have to relegate your handset to the storage box under the armrests.

Mileage: 4469

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Becoming a charge-master makes EV ownership easier - 4 September 2019

I seem to have cracked the early charging glitches (operator error) but I’m battling to get anywhere near the promised 258-mile range. Using Economy and with smart ventilation working (it only cools or heats occupied seats), I can do 225- 230. But I’m learning that it hardly matters. You always want to stop by the time you’ve done 150 miles.

Mileage: 2004

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Life with a Jaguar I-Pace: Month 1

Welcoming the I-Pace to the fleet - 28th August 2019

If you ever needed proof that how a car looks is crucial to its market acceptance and ultimate success, you’d have been well and truly persuaded during our first week’s ownership of a Jaguar I-Pace 400 HSE. You might reckon the car’s pioneering all-electric propulsion system would be the major source of comment given that this is the first battery-powered Jaguar in history.

But it wasn’t. Not at all. The comment – and there was plenty of it – usually went like this… Observer: “That the new electric Jag?” Autocar: “Sure is…” Observer: “Wow, doesn’t it look great? That colour’s fantastic. Is it orange? And the wheels – are they 22-inch? They look brilliant. Must be the best-looking Jaguar ever. What’s it cost?”

No mention there of the I-Pace’s 90kWh battery pack, or its awesome capacity for 4.5sec, smooth and silent sprints from standstill to 60mph (delivered with zero wheelspin because all wheels are driven). No mention of a predicted range that seems to vary between 220 and 260 miles. And only secondary attention to the price – which starts at £71,495 for a standard 400 HSE after the £3500 government incentive, but totals £79,740 in our case because of the mighty raft of options carried.

Everything is secondary, in those early minutes, to the car’s sleek, unique outline, to how well it wears its £700 Photon Red paint (which in decent sunlight is a tasteful Nearly Orange) and how well it rolls on its 22in five-split-spoke wheels.

If you value the joy of driving extra-refined cars, as I do, you’ll find there’s nothing in your memory bank quite like those first few miles in the I-Pace, as it demonstrates its near-silence and total smoothness. There’s a faraway whine as you accelerate, but the car’s ability to gain speed without noise or vibration simply doesn’t compute. It even shades other electric cars. After a few journeys, this consolidates into a kind of gliding gait that is simply intoxicating. Ridiculous to introduce noise into this, even if you could. And hard to imagine that, just a couple of years ago, many of us feared that electric cars would never have the ability to exhilarate a driver.

Of course, the wheels are in touch with the road in a conventional way. This car has a flat but sporty ride. But great trouble has clearly been taken to control road noise (in a way other electric cars do not) and the wind noise is also low. The ride is conventional in a sense but, as you ride, you soon tune into the fact that this machine has a long wheelbase with smaller than usual overhangs, that the major mass is beneath the floor, that there simply isn’t a great big metal lump suspended on rubber over the front wheels and that because of all this, the self-levelling air suspension units have a comparatively easy time keeping things on an even keel.

This and the I-Pace’s sophisticated torque-vectoring system – the ability to send different amounts of torque to different wheels as the car manoeuvres – means the car stays in line at road speeds whatever you do, gripping hard and responding near-instantly to practically any input.

On the subjects of charging and range, we’re still acquiring knowledge. The maker claims a 258-mile WLTP combined (read ‘realistic’) range, but we’ve had trouble reaching that without preconditioning – a heating process you can put the car through while it’s still charging. But plug the car in overnight at this part of the year and without preconditioning you’ll be offered 210-215 miles, a figure the I-Pace will faithfully fulfil if you cruise at 70mph on motorways and remember to let downslopes regenerate your battery.

In our experience, it takes good management and careful driving to get anywhere near an honest 258 miles. But the Economy setting, the softest of three driving modes, works much better than most by adding eight to 10 miles to the total range while maintaining decent accelerator response and cruising capability.

At charging time, we’ve so far had a bit of trouble. The car has never refused outright to take charge, but we’ve had unsuccessful attempts after which we’ve simply had to start again. Other users report the same.

The way to make it work seems to be to ensure your I-Pace is in Park, power off, with the (automatic) handbrake on and with the tailgate securely closed. You need to plug your cable first into the power source, and then into the car (the handbook makes that point very firmly). Usually there’ll be a loud click and the dashboard will show an amber ‘CHARGING’ message, whereupon you can be confident of locking the car and walking away with the battery capacity growing. The 7kW charger in my own garage is enough to keep a car like this healthy, provided it has an evening to recover from a long trip.

Key impressions so far? This is a superb car, especially this latest example that improves in quality detail on the early models Jaguar rushed into service. The driving position – around which former Jaguar designer Ian Callum said the car has been designed – is wonderful. Full marks for the seats, too, and the amazing performance.

On range and connectivity, we’re happy without being ecstatic. Hookup uncertainties do play on your mind and, having got used to the 300-mile ranges of much cheaper Hyundais and Kias, the 220-250 mile range of this car is just okay. Recent chats with manufacturers bidding to launch electric cars make it pretty clear 300 miles is the figure that makes people feel safe.

We’ll get used to all this. We will learn the I-Pace’s charging quirks and soon see that 220 miles is plenty. There is a learning curve, and we’re on it. But in itself, from stem to stern, the electric Jaguar is brilliant. Living with it looks set to be a delight.

Second Opinion

I didn’t instantly warm to the I-Pace. The big centre console seemed contrary to the space-creating possibilities of an EV layout; the twin touchscreen controls a bit confused. Then I drove it. The I-Pace has a real sense of quiet, opulent luxury. It feels special. Like a Jaguar should.

James Attwood

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Jaguar I-Pace EV400 AWD specification

Specs: Price New £71,495 (after gov't grant) Price as tested £79,740 Options Photon Red paint £700, monogram trim finisher £250, suedecloth headlining £900, suedecloth steering wheel £600, 22in five-spoke alloy wheels £500, electronic air suspension £1100, panoramic roof £960, activity key £300, heated/cooled performance front seats plus heated rear seats £1400, head-up display £900, privacy glass £375, exterior black pack £260

Test Data: Motor Two asynchronous electric motors Battery 90kWh Power 394bhp Torque 513lb ft Kerb weight 2133kg Top speed 124mph 0-62mph 4.8sec Range 292 miles (WLTP) CO2 0g/km Faults None Expenses None

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Comments
50

jer

8 September 2019

Those black plastic mouldings on the bottom of the doors are more Renault Captur than Jaguar. Audi would have finished them in a matt aluminium but stil of course plastic. The front grills on Jags are also starting to look old and just to simple needs to be more elaborate and move away from black or pastic chrome. Similar the interior others inlay the sepaeration between materials like fine furniture that sends premium signals. Jag just buts plastic or leather together will a simple layout that looks unadventurous. Great car though!

289

8 September 2019

....never realised they were over £70k.....its a small hatchback for christs sake.

Even with a Jaguar badge- how is it worth more than £38k?

This is madness.

8 September 2019
No, @289, it's not a small hatchback. Or did you just read a review of the eCorsa or e208?
It's a mid sized suv-like hatchback.

289

8 September 2019

.....my next door neighbour has one.....its a small hatchback as I said....no bigger or arguably better than an Astra.

9 September 2019

you need to get your eyes tested, small hatchback indeed. The Astra comment was stupid as well

289

11 September 2019

....nothing wrong with my eyes XXXX, but something clearly wrong with your knowledge!

Actually an Astra Estate is longer than an I-Pace

12 September 2019

Looks like you’ve not just got a problem with your eyes, your English is substandard too.  If only you said the I-Pace is 'shorter than the Astra Estate', rather than make a fool of yourself and try wiggle out of a major gaff! 

289

12 September 2019

I think it is you who looks a fool xxxx -trying to infer that I was wrong  comparing the size of an I-Pace to an Astra.

Keep digging though...knock yourself out!

Either way £75k for a vehicle 'smaller' than an Astra, and probably no better built is lunacy.

19 September 2019

"Either way £75k for a vehicle 'smaller' than an Astra" - still makes me laugh

CJC

20 September 2019

I can understand your point Jer, but it all comes at a cost and when combining all other issues such as warranty costs and high internal overheads, sacrifices needed to be made. It is a great car to drive and well worth a test drive. I'd still buy the audi or the Tesla any day over a Jaguar tho simply due to the reliability.

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