Jaguar I-Pace: The British Tesla Fighter
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to take the Model X down.
Tesla has finally found a worthy opponent. And it comes from the UK.
It's taken a while, but I have finally driven a Jaguar I-Pace. Launched two years ago, the I-Pace is the result of Jaguar's brave move into the world of electric mobility. Out of all the big car manufacturers, the brand from Coventry was the first to respond to Tesla with a car that can be a worthy challenger to the Model X. For Jaguar, the I-Pace is maybe their most important model in over 50 years. So, have we finally found a car that can take down the benchmark of the market?
The launch of the I-Pace proved us something. Big manufacturers are ready to develop electric cars. Jaguar may have been one of the first ones to tackle the premium EV market, but the counter-attack is coming. Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, Volkswagen, and even Ford all have their own electric car today, and they won't stop developing more. Unfortunately, Jaguar does not have these big guys' budget so they had to play smart. They needed a car that could be a little bit of everything to attract the most customers possible, and they needed to do it quickly.
To attract buyers, you first need to have a car that has a long range. Jaguar claims that the I-Pace can cover 298 miles on a single charge. Equipped with two electric motors linked to a 90kWh battery, the Jag develops 400 PS and therefore is a four-wheel drive. Compared to the Model X 90D, which has the same battery size, the I-Pace goes the furthest, but can we trust Jaguar's ambitious claimed range? To charge the car you can use a 100kW supply, that can fill an empty battery to 80% of its capacity in only 45 minutes, or use a normal plug at your house. I wouldn't recommend the last option as it would take you two days to charge it all up. Tesla is still the king in terms of infrastructure as they have their own channel of superchargers that can only be used by Tesla drivers, of course. For the moment, I-Pace owners need to rely on third-party suppliers.
The I-Pace I drove had a 250-mile range and I found it to be quite close to reality. I charged it on chargers next to my home, and even on regular plugs to see how it worked. Even though I've ran into a couple of issues, because I wasn't used to the system, I found the process of charging your car quite intuitive. All in all, I think 298 is a bit optimistic, and it might happen if the driving conditions are perfect. Unfortunately, it's hardly the case, and I was constantly looking at the range bar on the gage cluster to see how much battery I still had. It was freaking me out to see all these precious percents vanish every couple of minutes. I guess it just needs some getting used to.
This is where the Jaguar I-Pace scores the big points. The design is futuristic, while keeping Jag's DNA. There's a little bit of F-Type there, and a little bit of XE here. The proportions are just perfect, and it's sharp edges give it a mean and sporty look. I am usually not a big fan of SUVs, but I like the fact that it looks more like a small 4-door coupe than an actual all terrain vehicle. There are also a bunch of aero scoops like the rear spoiler or the front duct that not only look good but also contribute to the aerodynamics. Inside, it's typical Jaguar. Everything feels premium and it's a great place to sit in. On the center console, you're greeted by two gigantic displays. One for the infotainment, the other one for the car's settings. Quality and design-wise it's much better than what Tesla has to offer at the moment.
Jaguar launched an updated version of the I-Pace a couple of days ago, and they barely touched the design. Therefore, it seems that it's working well on people.
Remember when I said that Jaguar tried to produce a car that could be a little bit of everything? Well, I wasn't joking. The I-Pace wants to be a family car, an off-roader, and a sports car. Yes, a sports car! The Jag goes from 0-60 mph in only 4.5 seconds, and it will eventually reach a top speed of 124 mph, which is fast enough. It's not only quick in the straight line, the battery allows the I-Pace to have a low center of gravity. Therefore, even if the car weighs 2.1 tons, it beautifully carves through corners without too much understeer. The throttle response is immediate and the steering is precise. This might me one of the first true electric driver's car we've ever driven.
If you just want to cruise around, just know that the Jag's comfort is supreme. Obviously, you don't have engine vibrations, gearbox interference, and exhaust noise. So, you're just left with the sound of tyres rolling on the road. If you've had a long day, you'll find that the experience is quite relaxing. Another good news, kids sitting in the back might fall asleep faster.
It doesn't stop there. The I-Pace can also go off-roading. Our vehicle was equipped with the optional air-suspensions that allow to rise the entire car if you go through difficult terrain. It's no Land Rover Defender, but it's good to know that the I-Pace can get dirty.
While the Tesla amazes with its cutting-edge tech, the I-Pace is a little more conservative on this side. Good or bad, it's more similar to a "normal car". I found the infotainment system to be a bit of a let-down as it's less intuitive and less responsive than the Tesla's. I just ended up using Apple CarPlay all the time anyway. Another point about the interior is the space. There's lots of it, and you can comfortably seat five people, even though the sweeping roof line could be a bit of a problem at the back if you're a tall person.
It's a great car that managed to challenge the great American Goliath of electric cars, and it's refreshing. But the battle is still long. I still feel that power supply infrastructures are limited, and that a 250-miles range is not a lot. I may never do 250 miles per day, but I like to know that I could do it without any issues. The price is also quite high, and the car we tested cost more than £95K! Yes, on the long-term it will become more economical than an ICE car, so there's a lot of calculations to do and details to think about.
Clearly, the Jaguar I-Pace isn't for the masses, but it's awesome to see Jaguar up there with the leaders with a product that is simply amazing. To be honest, it's a vehicle that you want to own, unlike the Nissan Leaf. Coventry has managed to make a car that ticks all the boxes to make it easier for us to make a switch. Question is, would you buy it?
I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to Jaguar Switzerland for making this possible.
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