This week, at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, Jaguar unveiled their first battery-powered pure electric vehicle, the I-PACE. The five-passenger, all-wheel-drive SUV is capable of 240 miles on a single charge of its 90 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion batteries, and with a fast charging system, can juice up from empty to about eighty-percent of capacity (192 miles of range) in just 40 minutes. The I-PACE, which enters the U.S. market for $69,500 later this year, is the first of a spate of all-new electric vehicles that will be available from Jaguar. But this eco-friendly category is bound to grow significantly—especially as brands such as Mercedes, Porsche, BMW, Audi, and others begin to roll-out a full lineup of all-electric competitors. Elon Musk, whose new all-electric SUV, the Model X, is priced between $82,500 to $150,000, is in for some stiff competition.
While attending the Geneva Motor Show, AD was given the opportunity to test-drive an early, pre-production version of the new I-PACE on a closed course. We can attest to one thing right away: It’s fast. Jaguar claims a zero to 60 m.p.h. time of just 4.5 seconds, which is about as quick as the brand’s F-Type two-seat sports car, but because all of the thrust in an electric motor comes on as soon as one presses the “gas” pedal, it has a way of feeling even faster.
The car also handles remarkably well, even in the slick Swiss sleet, in part because it has such a low center of gravity. This can be attributed to the big, heavy batteries located in the floor of the vehicle, and the weight of the car being perfectly distributed. This prevents the possibility of tipping over, a fear that is all too common with high-riding vehicles like SUVs, making the car feel extremely planted and secure.
The interior is cavernous for a vehicle of this overall size. This is because the Jag takes full advantage, in its design, of the benefits of electric power, including eliminating the need for a big hood up front (no engine) or a big hump-shaped tunnel running through the middle of the vehicle (no transmission tube). All of this saved space can be given over to the passenger compartment, making the I-PACE feel much bigger on the inside than it appears on the outside.
It helps that the appointments in here are top-notch, with easily usable technology and premium materials, including the option of beautiful cloth seating surfaces from famed Danish design house Kvadrat. It also boasts features like an updated navigation system that helps the driver to choose the best route to take in order to maximize battery range.
Our small taste definitely left us wanting more time to experiment with the I-PACE, something we plan to do in the near future. We’ll report back as soon as we have the chance.
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