It used to be that we went years between launches of new Jaguar products, but these days they’re practically tripping over each other. The F-Pace still feels like a new addition to the clan, and the smaller E-Pace is just now reaching dealerships in the United States. And now the company is already showing off another crossover. This one is different, though: the I-Pace is Jaguar Land Rover’s first pure-electric vehicle, and it will be on sale here in the fall of this year.
The EV Vitals
The raw statistics certainly seem vital enough. The I-Pace has twin electric motors that allow all-wheel drive and provide a total system output of 394 horsepower and 512 lb-ft of torque. That’s not quite Tesla-rivaling but is enough for a claimed 4.5-second zero-to-60-mph time and an estimated 240 miles of range. (The I-Pace is rated for 300 miles of range on the European NEDC test, which tends to be highly optimistic. We’ve reached out to JLR for clarification.) The 90.0-kWh lithium-ion battery pack can be charged to 80 percent capacity in 40 minutes using a 100-kW DC fast charger.
We have already ridden in a prototype version of the car, an experience that left us broadly impressed, and we’re glad to see that so much of the design of the original concept—which bowed at the 2016 L.A. show—has made it through to production. The I-Pace uses an aluminum structure related to those of JLR’s other aluminum-bodied models but with the casing for the underfloor-mounted battery pack used as a structural component. Jaguar claims that the I-Pace is its torsionally stiffest production model yet. We haven’t been given a weight figure, but Jaguar says the battery pack’s location enables static mass to be apportioned exactly 50:50 between the front and rear axles and that it helps achieve a center of gravity 5.1 inches lower than that of the F-Pace.
Although it is lower, the I-Pace’s 117.7-inch wheelbase and 184.3-inch overall length are similar to those of the F-Pace, while the cabin is said to be as spacious as those in vehicles a size up. With no need to accommodate one of those old-fashioned gasoline engines, the base of the windshield has been pushed forward to maximize cabin space, although like many EVs the I-Pace sticks to the familiar form language of internal-combustion cars. Behind the grille there’s a radiator for the liquid-coolant system that, with flow controlled by a pump, regulates the temperature of the battery pack. The grille also directs airflow through the hood scoop to reduce drag, and active vanes in the grille and front bumper can close to further improve aerodynamics when cooling for the battery and climate-control system isn’t needed. Slipperiness also is helped by other details, including power-deployed door handles that stow seamlessly when the car is on the move, similar to those fitted to the Range Rover Velar.
The underfloor battery contains 432 pouch-type cells and drives two identical 197-hp motors, one powering the front axle and one the rear. This means the I-Pace combines all-wheel-drive traction with the ability to run more efficiently in two-wheel drive when required. Suspension is by control arms at the front and a multilink setup at the rear; air springs are standard, and they can automatically lower the car at highway speeds by up to 0.4 inch to further reduce drag. Regenerative braking levels can be adjusted, and in its most aggressive mode the I-Pace is claimed to be able to achieve a longitudinal braking force of up to 0.4 g without using its friction brakes. Like the BMW i3 and Nissan Leaf, the I-Pace will allow single-pedal driving, and it also will be possible to turn off the vehicle’s idle creep so the car will hold its position when stopped, even on an incline.
A Jaguar Inside
The cabin is obviously closely related to those of Jaguar’s existing model range, with a touchscreen interface sitting in the center of the dashboard and a digital instrument cluster in front of the driver. Rear legroom is quoted as a maximum of 35.0 inches, and the luggage compartment offers 23 cubic feet of capacity with the rear seats in place or 51 with them folded flat. As well as the traditional option of leather, buyers will be able to specify seats and trim made from “a sustainable, premium textile alternative developed with Danish textile experts Kvadrat” that combines high-quality microsuede and a durable wool-blend.
Not that the I-Pace doesn’t also signal its differentness to occupants. Instead of a conventional gearshift selector there are D, N, R, and P buttons on a console between the seats; above the gear-selection buttons are a smaller touchscreen combined with rotary dials for climate control and other systems. The infotainment system is a development of JLR’s established InControl system called Touch Pro Duo, which we’re told will use algorithms to “identify individual driver preferences and then tailor the I-Pace’s driving and interior settings accordingly.” (We’re hoping these will operate more instinctively than the somewhat confusing interface of the Velar.) So if you like to sit fully reclined with the seat heaters on full listening to Blue Öyster Cult at full volume, the I-Pace will make that happen. We’re also told that the car will be compatible with Amazon Alexa, meaning a compatible device running Jaguar’s app can be asked questions like “do I have enough range to get to work?” The car also is Jag’s first to incorporate the ability to receive over-the-air updates to various systems.
We don’t have finalized pricing yet, but our sources have indicated that the most basic I-Pace S will undercut the cheapest version of the Tesla Model X, suggesting a starting figure of around $70,000 before tax incentives. Of course, it will be possible to spend considerably more than that on options, as well as the SE and HSE trims—and the initial batch of U.S. models will be fully loaded one-year-only, HSE-based First Editions.