At the ongoing Los Angeles Motor Show, Coventry-based brand Jaguar has pulled the wraps off of their all-new electric SUV, dubbed the I-Pace. Though looking almost production-ready, this car remains a concept for now, with a market debut expected around 2018.
"The I-Pace is the most important car for Jaguar since the legendary E-Type. One day in the not-too-distant future, all cars will probably be electrically powered. So the I-Pace Concept and the production version, which will hit the road in 2018, is critically important to the future success of the Jaguar brand." – Ian Callum, design director, Jaguar-Land Rover
The Tesla Model X rival will be the first electric vehicle (EV) for Jaguar, and is currently being bandied as a performance SUV, combining a supercar silhouette with sports car performance, while not compromising on the practicality of an SUV. With a 90kWh battery pack, a phenomenal 500km range is being claimed.
Four wheel drive is provided by two electric motors, producing a total output of 294kW and 700Nm. Jaguar says that the electric SUV can do the century sprint in “around 4.0 seconds,” which is a whole second faster than the current Tesla Model X 90D can do it, despite packing a similar battery. All-new architecture also distances the I-Pace from the existing F-Pace SUV, instead riding on an all-new architecture that is smaller in size compared to its combustion-motivated sibling.
At 4,680mm long, 1,890mm wide, and 1,560mm tall, the I-Pace is smaller than the F-Pace in every respect, except for the wheelbase (which is 116mm longer). This will make space in the rear-half of the cabin on par, if not superior than the class best. Undoubtedly this emphasis on the rear quarters has a lot to do with the importance of the Chinese market to Jaguar’s financial health, and how that market values rear space almost above all else.
Although it might not suggest it, the I-Pace is a far more practical proposition than one might initially assume. There’s 530L of cargo space on offer in the boot, while the ‘frunk’ under the bonnet manages to squeeze in another 28L, despite a C-X75-inspired bonnet scoop compromises outright practicality sightly.
The I-Pace, though charting new territory for the Coventry marque, cannot be confused for anything but a Jaguar. It has design cues from across Jaguar’s range of production cars and concept cars, and the athletic shape sits on monstrous 23-inch ‘Nighthawk’ wheels, in a ‘Technical Grey’ and gloss black mix, with a diamond-turned finish. Even the tyres are of note, bearing a unique ‘Jaguar’ tread pattern.
Inside, the I-Pace continues to innovate, with a ‘flightdeck’-inspired design, angling all the major controls toward the driver. Two 12.0-inch screens dominate the dash, with one doing duty as the instrument cluster and the other, the touchscreen infotainment display. A third, 5.5-inch display sits lower, servicing the climate controls between rotary dials for temperature settings.
A new three-spoke steering wheel debuts here too, featuring ‘micro-click’ haptic feedback for the multifunction capacitive buttons themselves. On top of all this, there’s a Wi-FI hotspot to service data needs, as well as keep Jaguar’s InControl apps updated.
The I-Pace sports a suspension setup that’s largely similar to the F-Pace SUV, with double-wishbones in the front and proprietary Integral Link rear suspension. This combination, paired together with a low centre of gravity thanks to the mounting of the batteries, will endow the I-Pace the sporty ride and handling that is expected of a Coventry cat.
Speaking of those batteries, the 90kWh pack is split into 36 modules housed in lightweight aluminium, and is integrated into the I-Pace’s structure. Charging should take as little as 90 minutes for an 80% charge, while 100% charge should take a little over 2 hours.
Though the I-Pace remains a concept for now, Jag boss Ian Callum suggested that a production model should be expected in late 2017, before going to market in 2018. “The I-Pace is a radical departure for electric vehicles,” he said.
“It represents the next-generation of battery electric vehicle design. It’s a dramatic, future-facing design - the product of authentic Jaguar DNA matched with beautiful, premium details and British craftsmanship. This isn’t just a concept; It’s a preview of a five-seat production car that will be on the road in 2018. This will be Jaguar’s first-ever battery-powered electric vehicle, and opens a new chapter in the history of our legendary brand,” Callum concluded.
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