Okay, here it is. After seemingly endless hyping, Jaguar’s all-electric I-PACE has finally been revealed. In a certain way, it’s sort of the Jag version of a Tesla Model X: it’s an SUV that drips style and exclusivity. And, this is a very strange thing to say about a Jaguar, it’ll be cheaper than a Tesla. Following its public debut at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, Jaguar said the new I-PACE will be priced from $69,500 before federal and local government incentives.
When Jag finally rolled out the I-PACE for all the world to see, they did so in a rather modern, yet bizarre fashion, via a webcast from Graz, Austria (where the I-PACE is built). It was hosted by . . . by . . . wait, who are these people? British comedian and actor, Jack Whitehall (dunno who he is), TV presenter Jonny Smith (dunno who he is, but that missing ‘h’ and superfluous ‘n’ makes him suspect), and American tech guru iJustine (who, again I have no idea, but people with mononymes worry me and anyone who puts a friggin’ i’ in front of their name on purpose, I can’t even).
If that’s not enough, Jaguar enlisted small children, using a pair of nine-year-olds, Lola and Hudson, to explain the I-PACE’s technology to Whitehall. Jag refers to them as “vehicle experts.” Who are these people?
Charging & Performance
The tech behind it is, in some way, rather standard state-of-the-art EV technology circa 2018. There’s a 432 “pouch” cell battery pack. I take it Jag means there are 432 individual batteries grouped together to form one big energy store. This lithium-ion battery pack puts out 90kWh which is good enough for an estimated range of 240 miles. Acceptable. Jag says you can get an 80 percent battery charge in around 40 minutes using a 100kW DC rapid charge facility. If you juice it up at home with a 230V/32A AC wall box (7kW), it will take you over ten hours, and just over twelve for a full charge.
Coventry really massaged the battery itself with a batch of range-optimizing technologies, like a battery pre-conditioning system that warms or cools the battery and cabin to optimal temperature while plugged in and charging.
Jaguar designed the electric motors in-house, using a trick concentric design with driveshafts passing through the motors themselves for compact packaging. One motor is at each axle for a full-on, all-wheel drive setup to increase traction. And yeah, since this is an EV with all that juicy, juicy torque, the I-PACE can hit 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. About as quick as a new Camaro, ha-ha!
The structure of the SUV is made of riveted and bonded aluminum (glued and screwed) that’s light and stiff to the point of having a measured torsional rigidity of 36kNm/degree – the highest of any current Jaguar vehicle, even the F Types!
The battery lives centrally between the two axles which helps give the I-PACE a 50:50 weight distribution. The front suspension is a double wishbone deal with an Integral Link setup out back. The suspension is a standard Active Air Suspension which probably rides like a Rolls and costs about as much as a satellite to fix.
Design-wise, this Jag is actually rather pretty. For an SUV. It has a short, low hood, an aero-enhanced roof design, and curved rear window. The cab-forward design and squared-off rear makes for a coefficient drag of just 0.29Cd. The Active Vanes in the grille open when cooling is required and shut when things are cool enough. The I-PACE also has tons of storage inside (since EVs don’t have traditional engines). The rear luggage compartment in the way back offers 25.3 cubic feet of space, going all the way up to 51 cubic feet with the second row seats folded flat.
On Sale & In Person
The I-PACE will be available during the second half of this year in S, SE, and HSE trim. The vehicle is currently on display at the Geneva International Motor Show, now through March 18th.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz.