Jaguar’s new I-PACE has finally taken to the streets, hitting the road in its natural environment: A park in the middle of London, one of the most densely packed urban environments on the planet. No, you’re not very likely to see this thing busting up a trail in Moab, but I don’t really think that Jaguar cares very much.
Jaguar calls the I-PACE (yes, it’s in all caps, yes, it has an “I” in the name, no, Jaguar probably doesn’t seem to see the causticness in either of those) an “electric performance SUV concept.”
That does seem like a mishmash of corp-speak right out of a marketing weasel’s mouth, but it’s actually kind of accurate. The I-PACE is the Jaguar brand’s first electric vehicle and will arrive in the second half of 2018. That could be from July 2018 through December 2018, but Jag isn’t getting any more specific, so if you really want one, you’re going to have to deal with that vague description for now.
Concepts & Rulebooks
At the moment, the I-PACE is just a concept and it most definitely is an SUV – truck-like in looks if not truck-like in deed – and it does have performance (if the Jags of the early 80s could get up and go, even this truck-esque thing should move out of its own way). And the Jaguar I-PACE is, literally, electric (there’s batteries and an electric motor buried in there somewhere).
The Jaguar I-PACE finally got its chassis off the auto show floor and onto the streets, hitting the motorways of London for the first time. Specifically it was driving on the streets of London’s famous Olympic Park, to preview the EV SUV actually moving in front of the general public. This is essentially a working version of the show car, whereas the final production version will be revealed later this year.
Jaguar Director of Design, Ian Callum, who has been doing a rather adequate and workman like job, is very pleased with his company’s first foray into both the electric vehicle world, and the realm of SUVs.
“The feedback on the I-PACE Concept has been fantastic; it has surprised people and the enthusiasm for our first electric vehicle has been beyond all my expectations,” he said. “With the I-PACE Concept we’ve torn up the rule book to create a vehicle with supercar inspired aesthetics, sports car performance, and SUV space in one electric package.”
Power & Performance
The I-PACE is motivated by a 90kWh lithium-ion battery, which makes enough juice to accelerate the beast from 0-60 in around 4 seconds, with a targeted range of approximately 220 miles according to EPA test cycles. That’s pretty impressive (given all the equivocating), since this thing probably weighs over a couple of tons. No, there are no official weight figures given, but c’mon, this thing is a truck and it’s hauling around a pallet-load of batteries, and neither “truck” nor “batteries” impart a sense of “lightness” do they?
Jag says that charging is “easy and quick” with an 80 percent charge accomplished in 90 minutes and 100 percent charge achieved in just over two hours using the 50kW DC fast charging system.
The electric motors are compact, lightweight affairs (so that’s a plus) with one at each end driving the front and rear axles. Combined they produce an output of 400 horsepower and 516 lb-ft. of all-wheel drive torque, which is (frankly) a lot, but also remember what I said about this thing being heavy overall.
Putting power down to the tarmacadam and maintaining traction on a variety of “other” surfaces and weather conditions is all down to the electronic brain control unit that governs all the electronic systems; charging, inductance braking, those sorts of things. Jaguar says throttle response is “immediate” and the system provides “exceptional control over the front and rear torque distribution.”
Will it work? Sure, probably, depending on what your definition of work is. If it’s driving Trevor and Sterling to lacrosse practice, then it’ll work. If it means 26 miles of bad gravel “road” to meet up with this job’s logging crew for the next 13 days straight, that remains to be seen.
Still, Jaguar is rightfully optimist about their creation, especially with regard to on-road dynamics.
“You can see the true value of the I-PACE’s dramatic silhouette and powerful proportions when you see it on the road against other cars,” Callum said. “Driving the concept on the streets is really important for the design team.”
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He means well, even if he has a bias towards lighter, agile cars rather than big engine muscle cars or family sedans.