Driving the 2020 Jaguar I-Pace EV400 almost changed my mind
My first EV review (Yes, I'm a bit late to the party) was, more or less, what I expected.
Between the never-ending integration of modern technologies and staying true to traditions, it seems, car manufacturers have gone mental. Needless to say, the competitive nature of the industry has both good and bad consequences for manufacturers.
On one hand, manufacturers need to account for potential situations, previously not considered - e.g. the Lithium-Ion batteries which cannot be extinguished in a conventional way, in case of fire. On the other hand, once everyone does their homework, we get to see some interesting vehicles.
The I-Pace is such a car. And, I think, not many people expected to see and EV from Jaguar - at least I didn't. Jaguar is one of those, very few and ever decreasing number of brands, that retain a more traditional approach when developing their cars. Which is why, a fully electric Jag, surprised more than a few people.
It's important to note, that the I-Pace is also the first direct competitor to Tesla, and also a viable alternative to the American manufacturer. What is it then? It looks like a hybrid between SUV and a saloon - a SUVoon maybe?
Although, on the outside it looks like it could handle a bit of rough terrain, it is primarily meant for the road. Inside, despite the slightly raised position, and the fact that you can raise it by 20 cm, thanks to the adaptive air suspension, it feels like a luxury sport saloon.
The interior is as nice as you expect it to be, if not more, for a car that costs nearly 100 000 EUR as equipped. For the price we got almost every conceivable thing, you can get, except the bigger 22 inch wheels. We had the "small" 20s, which still looked good, and I reckon, make for a slightly better ride quality.
The interior is a beautiful blend of classic and futuristic. Not many can pull this off as well as the British, I have to say. You get two center touchscreens, which are very easy to use, although the average Jaguar buyer might be a initially shocked by the amount of integrated technology. Don't worry, there are a few good-ol' buttons as well.
All this technology is wrapped in tons of leather - red, in our case, which is complemented by good amounts of wood and brushed aluminium. We couldn't find a single surface, that feels cheap. All the buttons, and even the turn signal and wiper stocks feel high quality - something that is neglected, even in many premium vehicles.
Since you don't have an internal combustion engine, you technically have two luggage compartments. Cargo space in the rear is 656 liters, 1 453, if you pull down the back seats. The front one however is good only for small things, and is best suited for the charger.
Earlier electric cars are known for a few things. Being heavy, having terrible range, taking too long to charge and being dull to drive. Luckily, they've managed to clean most of these drawbacks. And the Jag is no exception.
The I-Pace weighs in at almost 2.2 tons - a hefty figure, considering that a similarly sized conventional vehicle weighs about 500 kg less. Not all is bad though. With EVs, all drive train components - electric motors and batteries, are located in the floor of the vehicle. This translates to a low center of gravity, and in turn you get a car that masks its weight quite well.
Range is 480 km on single charge, and after having the car for a few hours, I can believe that. Even if you push the car often, it doesn't seem to drain the battery a lot more. As for charging the I-Pace, plugging it to a 50 kW charging station for 35 minutes gives you back around 150 km of range - a good excuse for a coffee break.
The twin electric motors have combined power of 400 hp and 696 Nm. Electric propulsion means you get that beefy torque right from the start. Merging and overtaking never felt so effortless. Once you step on it, you quickly forget the 2.2 ton weight. 0-100 kph happens in 4.6 seconds.
As for driving pleasure, those 696 Nm dominate the experience. Even if you punch it from 140, you are still being glued to the seat. It does handle technical courses quite well too. This heavy weight does not handle like a drunk sumo, but rather like a cat with lightning quick reflexes.
Jaguar have not only made a Tesla competitor, but a very well-thought out and exciting...yes exciting car. What's even more striking is that Jaguar of all manufacturers decided to get in on the EV game, and they brought out a serious weapon.
I'm someone who appreciates hand-made craftsmanship, and have always been fond of more analog cars. But after having the JAAAG for a few hours, I figured that...maybe the future isn't as dull as I thought it would be.