I jumped at the opportunity to have time with the all electric I-Pace, which recently had won not only the 2019 World Car of the Year awards, but those for both World Green Car and Design of the Year as well!
With the first sighting of such in the metal, I decided this striking-looking Jaguar SUV, with its ultra modern looks, is a must-have for those who like to be right up there with the very latest in cutting edge, zero-emissions technology.
Ian Callum, Jaguar Director of Design says “ Electric vehicles offer designers unprecedented freedom to rethink the proportions, the profile and the packaging”.
He has certainly done that with this variation of an SUV with its dramatic, cab-forward profile, short overhangs and width, all of which endows it with a sense of drama and definitely sets it apart from traditional SUVs.
That’s just the start, for power and torque, of which there’s 294kW and 696Nm of torque respectively that comes from the combination of the state-of-the-art, 90kWh lithium-ion battery pack ( this sits low down below the cabin) and the two Jaguar designed electric motors, one of each for the front and rear axles.
That maximum 696Nm of torque is instantly available on pressing the accelerator.
There’s absolutely no delay, nor gear-changing of course as you rapidly and effortlessly race away from 0 to 100km/h in 4.8 seconds – and with no sounds from the electric motors.
Had the two E-Type owners whom I took driving really missed the cacophony of engine sounds they are used to, Jaguar provides a selectable digital sound track to match the cars acceleration.
Repeating this acceleration experience was so hard to resist, but doing so of course diminishes the range, which Jaguar says can be up to 470km (WLTP cycle).
So, like all vehicles, the range is determined by where and how you drive.
Range-wise EV’s work best in traffic where only a light foot on go pedal is needed and where you also get the most benefit from the regenerative braking set in Maximum mode.
This braking works as soon as you ease off the accelerator and driving in built-up areas you quickly become used to letting this system bring you to standstill without putting your foot on the brake pedal.
That’s great about town, but for the SH1 and then driving some suitably winding roads Minimum regeneration was used.
After all we were in a Jaguar, open spaces beckoned and the indicated range was over 300km.
While 18-inch wheels are standard, the test car had the optional 22-inch wheels as well as the adaptive air-suspension package.
Around town and for SH1 cruising Comfort mode was mostly selected, with Dynamic tried through some winding corners.
Though the I-Pace weighs in at 2100+kg, with the battery pack mounted nice and low there’s a close to the ideal 50/50 weight distribution.
The combination of this, the precise steering, lots of grip and traction from wide tyres and all-wheel-drive system means the I-Pace has the ability to nimbly slice through corners in an expected proper and precise Jaguar manner!
And it maintains its excellent ride quality while doing so.
All of which you enjoy from within the spacious and impressively laid out cabin, in which of course, there’s lots of leather and alloy.
There’s plush but supportive and comfortable, fully electric, slightly elevated seats for all.
In the rear there’s excellent space for two and if necessary a third for short distances.
The rear seats split/fold 60/40 and there’s trays to discreetly stow items below them.
The dash includes a large digital display with multiple information choices, which it’s best to familarise one’self with while sitting behind the wheel with all systems operational, but the drive selector in N.
There’s both touch sensitive and circular control dials for the sound system and dual zone climate control.
The latter’s Smart function only heats or cools the area around each occupant, ensuring comfort with minimum energy consumption.
As well there’s a thermal management system whose smart heat pump can scavenge energy from both the outside air and the vehicle’s high-voltage electronics to heat the cabin so reducing the load of the battery– even in freezing conditions.
Plus there’s plenty of information displayed about the remaining battery capacity and range.
The range display is personalised to each driver and can show how much energy systems such as climate control or heated seats are using – and how much range can be gained by switching them off.
Of course there’s also keyless entry, a heads-up display and active cruise control
The view forward is excellent but the curvaceous styling means that for reversing/parking you appreciate the wide angle rear view camera and the lots of other driver and safety technology.
Because of being two metres wide, and having those artistic 22-inch wheels, care was needed to select suitable parking spaces.
Lots of cabin storage space to, although some comment arose from the way the sweeping dash intrudes a little for the front passenger.
With 656 litres at the rear and further smaller spaces around the charging cables, including that under the bonnet there’s plenty of luggage space.
Despite the obvious off-road credibility through the air-suspension, all-wheel-drive and the array of hill-climbing and descent technology from the Range Rover connection, tempted as I was, I didn’t venture off the bitumen.
OK but what about recharging?
Most owners will buy a wallbox (7kW AC) for for overnight homecharging. This costs around $1500 and takes up to 10hours for an 80 per cent charge.
Using public chargers to do this (no cost still for our EA one) the 50kW DC takes 85 minutes to charge to 80 per cent.
Eagle eyed readers may note that the I-Pace in the photo is not locked – for if it was the door handles would be retracted into, and flush with the body.
This electric I-Pace is decidedly exciting to look at, sit in and then drive. It’s a very appealing new-age luxury, but sporty-if-you-wish SUV with an appropriate, for NZ between charges, touring range!