The I-Pace won an historic treble at the 2019 World Car Awards, walking away with the 2019 World Car of the Year and World Car Design of the Year titles but also named World Green Car.
The latest win, at the New York International Auto Show by a panel of 86 motoring journalists from 24 countries, comes just weeks after it claimed the European Car of Year title.
Dr Ralf Speth, Jaguar Land Rover CEO, says: “We started with an ideal, to move towards our Destination Zero vision; zero emissions, zero accidents and zero congestion. I-Pace is our first step to achieving this, and it was conceived when EVs were little more than a niche choice.
“So we started from a clean sheet of paper to create a new benchmark – the world’s best premium electric vehicle, and a true Jaguar driver’s car.”
I-Pace has a state-of-the-art 90 kWh lithium-ion battery and delivers a range of more than 450 kilometres and can be charged from zero to 80 per cent in just 40 minutes (100W DC), or takes just over ten hours to achieve the same state of charge using a domestic wallbox (7 kW AC).
I-Pace has a five-year, 200,000 km warranty, backed by a five-year service plan and five years roadside assistance. The I-Pace battery, made of 432 cells slung beneath the cabin floor, is covered by an eight-year, 160,000 km warranty.
The I-Pace is available in S, SE and HSE variants, plus a First Edition, priced from $119 000, plus on-road costs. The test vehicle was the SE grade, selling for $130,200.
Its sleek, coupe-like silhouette – with a short, low bonnet, aero roof design and curved rear screen – takes its cue from the Jaguar C-X75 supercar. The cab-forward design contrasts with its squared-off rear, which helps cut the drag co-efficient to a reasonable 0.29.
To optimise the balance between cooling and aerodynamics, active vanes in the grille open when cooling is required, but close when not needed to redirect air through the bonnet scoop, smoothing airflow.
A skinner rear view for the driver, sacrificed to style by swoopy glass, but slightly excused by a big boot, roomy centre console and almost flat floor throughout.
Though it’s a small-to-mid-size SUV, I-Pace’s cab forward design and EV powertrain means interior space compares with that of a large SUV. In the rear, legroom is a generous 890 mm while. As there’s no transmission tunnel, there’s a large, very accessible 10.5-litre central storage compartment.
In the rear, tablet and laptop stowage is found beneath the seats, while the rear luggage compartment offers a 656-litre capacity – 1453 litres with seatbacks folded flat.
I-Pace raises the curtain for Jaguar on the Touch Pro Duo infotainment system. Utilising an innovative combination of touchscreens, sensors and tactile controls, Touch Pro Duo is extremely intuitive.
Even the new EV navigation gets personal, with the system working out the topography of the designated route and info from previous journeys, including driving style, to calculate range and charging status for maximum driver confidence.
The advanced system uses ‘Smart Settings’ technology – driven by artificial intelligence algorithms – to identify driver preferences, tailoring the I-Pace driving and interior settings to suit.
I-Pace also introduces an Amazon Alexa Skill, so owners can ask an Alexa enabled device for information held in the Jaguar InControl remote app. For example: “What is the charge status and is it enough to get me to work?”
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
The I-Pace’s two synchronous permanent magnet motors with rare-earth metals are fed by a state-of-the-art 90 kWh lithium-ion battery, giving a range of more than 450 km.
Smart technology is on board with a battery pre-conditioning system that when plugged in automatically raises or lowers the temperature of its battery to maximise range ahead of driving away.
The I-Pace earned a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, partly due to a body that provides high levels of occupant protection, and is complemented by technologies designed to protect other road users and pedestrians, including a deployable bonnet and autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection
Thoughtful ‘lab coats’ at Jaguar realised that with little or no engine sound, the I-Pace could be a danger to blind, visually impaired and other vulnerable road users, so they designed an Audible Vehicle Alert
System that can be heard at speeds up to 20 km/h and exceeds the 56 dB(A) minimum required by European legislation – the strictest in the world – for all new EVs from next month <subs: July 2019>.
There’s nothing new about battery powered electric vehicles, the first one I came across was the Co-op milk float in 1950’s Britain. The I-Pace motor note rekindles trips to town on the trolley bus of that era, whistling as it went.
The Jag has three: Eco, Comfort and Dynamic. While Eco is wasted on a car of its capabilities, Comfort affords some level of free rein to the I-Pace performance.
Hit the button for Dynamic and the hefty (two tonnes-plus) five-seater puts on a show of incendiary acceleration, hitting 100 km/h from standstill, according to the maker, in 4.8 seconds on the way to a 200km/h top speed.
Part of the charm of the I-Pace is the ability to drive it with just one pedal. Instant response to power has the car moving off quickly and smoothly, while lifting the foot, engages engine braking just as fast. Careful use of the pedal can be effective, with practice, even in stop/start going.
All this comes with a driving range of up to 470 km. With zero petrol or diesel consumption, but the possibility of an unknown slug in the household battery charging power bill, the jury is still out on the I-Pace’s savings.
And there’s the rub. Refuelling the beast is so variable. Charging the battery from a domestic power outlet works out at 10 km range per hour, which would take nearly two days to fill up from ‘empty’. However, filling from fully empty is unusual and the more common 20 to 80 percent is likely to be significantly better and work nicely for most.
Hook up to an optional 7 kW AC single-phase wall-charger, Jaguar says I-Pace can be charged to 80 per cent in 10 hours at the rate of 35 km per hour.
Best of all is with a 100 kW DC fast charger in just 40 minutes (at the rate of 100 km per 15 minutes). These two come at a price, as do a swag of options to add the personal touch.
The Jaguar I-Pace SE is a pleasant enough drive, especially off the mark; snail-like to refuel, so hell to live with; and a potential mystery when it comes to trading it in.
Even if (when) prices come down, I won’t be queueing any time soon for a plug-in all-electric vehicle until it’s possible to “fill ‘er up” at a conventional fuel stop in a matter of minutes.
AT A GLANCE
I-Pace S: $119,000
I-Pace SE: $130,200
I-Pace HSE: $140,800
I-Pace First Edition: $159,700
Note: These prices do not include dealer or government charges. Contact your local Jaguar dealer for drive-away prices.
SPECIFICATIONS (I-Pace EV400 SE, 90 kWh, automatic AWD SUV)
Maximum Power: 294 kW
Maximum Torque: 696 Nm
Fuel type: Electric
Range: 470 km
Drivetrain: EV400 90 kWh battery, 2 permanent magnet electric motors, automatic transmission, all-wheel drive
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4682 mm
Width: 2139 mm
Height: 1565 mm
Wheelbase: 2990 mm
Gross vehicle mass: 2670 kg
Turning circle: 11.98 m
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc
5 years / 200,000 kilometres
Battery 8 years / 160,000 kilometres