The Jaguar I-Pace presents a test for Ian Callum and his crack team of designers like no other Jaguar in modern history.

Of course, it erects some gigantic hurdles for engineers, too, but at least our growing collective experience of all-electric cars gives us clues about the new brand of extreme silence and refinement to be expected from the debutant, dynamically speaking.

2018 Jaguar I-Pace revealed

But for this very special car, design will be the major discriminator even more than usual. The I-Pace cannot rely on a Jag’s usual long-nosed proportions, or an impressive engine spec, or the howl from its exhaust (complete with quad tailpipes) to excite the buyer’s emotions. It is the shape – and a short-nose, big-cabin shape at that – that must do the business. Or not. Also vital, by the way, will be the performanceof worldwide battalions of Jaguar salesmen, who will need reserves of knowledge and patience many never displayed before.

What we’ve seen so far is very encouraging. The I-Pace looks great to a fresh eye and has already motivated a sizeable band of early adopters. But its looks must excite ordinary Jaguar buyers for years to come and be strong and special enough to sire a family. First signs are fine, but it’s still a big ask.