By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
Forget the Model 3 Tesla: the Jaguar I-Pace might just be the most significant new electric car to come out this year. It’s an all-new vehicle from the British automaker, the first instalment of its ambitious plan to electrify the entire model range over the next few years. The I-PACE first appeared as a concept at the 2016 LA Auto Show. Now, less than two years later, the production version is ready, almost unchanged.
The I‑PACE is a pure Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV), which means it doesn’t have a combustion engine and so obviously burns no petrol or diesel. The power is supplied by two electric motors in the form of electricity stored in a rechargeable battery.
The I-PACE’s innovative Eco Mode helps preserve range by reducing energy depletion and encouraging a more efficient driving style. But there’s more: it also makes subtle changes to cabin temperature, air recirculation and to a number of the car’s other features. Its cutting edge climate system has the ability to pre-condition the interior ahead of departure while the car is still charging, using electricity from the power supply, and not the battery.
The Adaptive Surface Response (AdSR) constantly monitors the car’s environment and adjusts the appropriate motor and brake settings to support the driver in adverse weather and across challenging surfaces. The Torque Vectoring provides controlled independent braking on the individual inside front and rear wheels to add to the turning forces acting on the car. Magic occurs in this smart car when you lift your foot off the accelerator pedal: the system provides regenerative braking, comfortably slowing I‑PACE while converting the power generated to optimise the battery’s range.
This kind of vehicle only needs to be charged around once a week; it’s only during long distance journeys that a charging stop may be necessary. The I‑PACE’s battery is charged via the car’s plug-in charge point, located behind the front wheel arch. Once connected, you’re free to leave it to do its job, and the vehicle will automatically stop charging when it reaches full charge. You can do this in any kind of weather: sunshine, rain, or snow.
If this is your first electric vehicle, don’t worry: the process of running it is very simple. The Multi-Function Charging Cable allows you to charge the vehicle from either a domestic socket or an industrial connector (IEC) socket. The Public Charging Cable connects I‑PACE to standard AC public charging points and it can also be used to connect to a home wall box, which can fully recharge the vehicle overnight and deliver up to 35km (22 miles) of range per hour.
If you’re on the road and need charging, the best way is to use DC chargers, which is a typical 50kW charger that can deliver up to 270km (168 miles) of range per hour. You can find convenient charging points in a variety of locations, since Jaguar has authorised public charging partnerships for all markets in which I‑PACE is available.
The aerodynamic design of this eco-Jaguar is evident in the pronounced front wheel arches and the rear diffuser that allows the car to whizz through the road, with optimised range and stability. The bold grille curves inwards reducing drag, as they channel air through the bonnet scoop and out, where it passes over a roofline (available in either black paint or panoramic glass) that is curved for maximum efficiency.
The flowing waistline fenders movement on wheels that come in different sizes: 18”, 20” and 22”. The most innovative elements are undoubtedly the Adaptive Matrix LED headlights that provide great visibility and safety at night, automatically adjusting the shape of the high beam to avoid dazzling oncoming vehicles.
The interior design is super sleek, adorned with tactile features such as twin-needle stitching, and sweeping lines that have a typically luxurious ‘Jaguar’ feel. The 5- seater car is abundant in space, allowing all passengers to comfortably. The I-PACE also features all the latest camera technology, such as a 360° surround camera and blind spot assist.
And if you don’t like to travel light, rest assured that the loadspace and car-storage are beyond compare. You’ll feel relaxed and protected inside this electric vehicle, since the car features acoustic laminated glass on the front windows and windscreen, reducing noise entering the cabin from outside.
Tech geeks will be in their element once they step inside the I-PACE and test out the seamlessly integrated technology. The Touch Pro Duo infotainment system comprises a 10” Touchscreen integrated into the dashboard and a lower 5” Touchscreen with multi-function dynamic dials. The Interactive Driver Display provides relevant driving information, including full screen navigation with 3D mapping, and the Navigation Pro allows you to display a choice of 2D or 3D map and can easily save your favourite destinations through multi-touch gestures.
You can stay connected remotely with your I‑PACE through an App that works with both Apple and Android smartphones. With Connect Pro, you can find nearby parking, places of interest and know what’s happening along your route.
Last but not least, in terms of customising your driving experience, Smart Settings can select preferred seat and mirror positions and play your preferred media at the start of each journey, almost like an virtual butler.
The Tesla 3 is undoubtedly a great electric vehicle. But if you could have all its eco-features, plus the luxurious design of a Jaguar…what would you choose?
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All images courtesy Jaguar