2018 Jaguar I-Pace Review – the ultimate all-electric SUV | Autocar


Quiet, isn’t it? you join me inside the
Jaguar I-Pace which is what? It’s an electric vehicle, a full battery electric
vehicle no range extender no internal combustion of any kind it is the second
premium battery electric vehicle I suppose after ‘an Tesla,’ it is the second,
Jaguar is the second manufacturer to get in on doing it. It’s funny isn’t it if
you said to me 10/15 years ago who are going to be the two
manufacturers in the world who are the first to bring premium battery electric
vehicles to market. I don’t think you’d have necessarily said somebody I’ve
never heard of plus Jaguar but this kind of makes sense you know new technology
arrives and it is usually expensive and then it filters down to the rest of the
range, with battery electric vehicles why did we ever think it’s a good idea to go
from the bottom up so the Renault Zoe and the Nissan Leaf and then push onwards.
Surely it makes sense where people have got a bit of money to spend, to encourage
those early adopters who have got somewhere to charge a car at home, an
expendable income and the money to spend on a car that has a really viable
range. The range of this car is around 300 miles that’s a pretty decent usable
range, isn’t it? Now there are obviously the caveats about where you’re going to
charge it, how long it takes to charge. 100 kilowatt charger, you know, you get
an 80 percent charge in under an hour and so on and so forth.
So there’s all those issues that if an electric car does not suit your
lifestyle, look away now. If it does however,
or if you’re just interested, welcome to I guess the future of a kind because one
day everything will be EV powered, won’t it? I mean, you know, exceptions aside. And what’s
that like? well from a certain point of view an EV is a fairly
straightforward thing, a load of batteries, a motor or two, put it in a car. And from that
point of view it’s actually a very simple proposition, there is a bit more
to it than that. Beneath the I-paces aluminium body
structure, the platform follows a fairly typical skateboardy template that
electric cars use. The battery pack, here about 430 lithium-ion cells totaling 90
kilowatt hours, sits on the floor between the axles and each axle has its own
permanent magnet electric motor with an inverter attached to it. This means the I-Pace is four-wheel-drive and it’s this, Jaguar says, which allows the axles to be
out at each corner. If it was two-wheel drive the rear wheels would have to be
pushed further forward and yes it’s all waterproof so the I-Pace can wade through
500 millimetres of water. At the front suspension is by double wishbones and at
the back there is an integral link. You can have coil springs on passive dampers,
the same with active dampers or as we’ve tested, on air springs which allow an
adjustable ride height. And all of that means what from an I-Pace
perspective? Well it’s a car that is about the size of an XF but with even
more space inside, it’s quite wide because it’s an aluminium structure but not
obnoxiously so. It’s got a light airy interior but what’s quite cool about it
is that it does still feel like a premium Jaguar product, it’s well
finished inside, it’s more nicely finished inside than
probably any Tesla but I think a Model 3 particular. Some people go ‘Oh my
goodness a new electric car it’s gonna kill Tesla, oh my goodness, you know, it’s
gonna be a problem for another car manufacturer. I don’t believe
that’s true. The overall market for EV’s is growing at such a rate and it is so
small at the moment that there is space in there for everybody.
Remember when MG launched the MGF, for overseas readers it’s a car from MG
rover group that had its engine in the middle, at that point Mazda MX-5 sales
did not fall off a cliff, they went up because it gathered more interest to
that market and I could see the more EV’s that go on sale, the more EV’s from
everywhere that will be sold. But anyway enough all that, what is this one like?
Well it’s fast, I can tell you that much and it’s quite heavy. In terms of power
delivery, in terms of what it’s like to drive, are we at risk of creating things
that are all in some ways a little bit similar. An electric motor, you talk about
an inefficient electric motor and a really efficient one, this one’s got a
really efficient one, you’re looking at a difference between sort of 90 and 95
percent efficiency, you’re talking very small differences. There’s only three people
in the world really who are capable of making the batteries to a decent
extent, one Japanese, two South Korean. These batteries are from LG, two electric
motors gives a really stable steady driving characteristic even though
actually the front one usually does the regeneration and the back one usually
does the driving. When you ask more of this chassis,
it is so fast, honestly, it’s ridiculous. 400 horsepower but well over 550lb ft
of torque. It’s just, it’s just absurd, it’s really cool to drive but EV’s do
have a bit of a driving characteristic to them. Jaguar says this car drives like
a Jaguar, well look it feels like no Jaguar I’ve ever driven, it’s just
absurd and because their noise levels are really low, there is there is a fake
noise in this actually and you can turn it up or down. If I put this car into
dynamic mode, that ups the noise, in quiet mode, sorry I’m rambling but
there’s quite a lot to get through and it’s all, it’s not like reviewing a
normal car because there is so many different things to tell you, for example
It uses anti noise so that in comfort mode everything’s really quiet, when you put
it into dynamic not only does it cancel the anti noise, it adds an artificial
noise. Sound good? I quite like it, I might
turn it down if I owned one of these and used it every day to go to the station and
back, I might sort get a bit tired of the warp drive effect but it’s quite cool
and you could do that kind of thing with an EV. What are the problems with an
EV? Well one, well you know, does it fit your
life or not? You decide, you worry about that, two, and this is a thing, and I wonder whether
this will be an ongoing thing, although the centre of gravity is very low and
although the weight distribution is terrifically 50/50 and although you can put power
exactly where you want when you want, which is brilliant. The ride of these
cars is never that great, this is probably as good as it as good as it
gets for an EV but the ride quality on a saloon is still better, the Jaguar
saloon in particular is better. It weighs from 2200 kg’s, so I’ve no
idea what this one comes in at, maybe it’s 2.3 tonnes, maybe that’s part of the
problem, you know, you’re trying to get sporty characteristics and there is a
low center of gravity so role is fairly well contained,
but trying to get sporty-ish characteristics into a car which is
heavy, there is no question but, they’ve tried to
make it do what some Jaguar’s do, so when you turn and you trail the brakes, it feels
like it’s helping it rotate into the corner and certainly in terms of
powering through a corner there, it’s so capable,
I wouldn’t be surprised if it was one of the fastest point-to-point cars around.
If that’s what you wanted, not sure that’s what I want. Anyway, it steers quite nicely, it’s
comfortable enough. There are elements to the steering of Jaguar-ness
about it, it doesn’t drive like a traditional Jaguar, there is a big raft
of infotainment, it’s a new system for Jaguar, it’s a bit like the Range Rover
Velar actually, the stuff at the bottom does the heating and ventilation and then
you get the navigation and so on at the top where you have to move your eyes
from the road a bit less. In some ways I like that I like the fact that there are
clear dials for some things so that you don’t have to go into a touchscreen for
everything. The touchscreen itself is not as good as the one in a Tesla, it is not
as good as the infotainment system you get in a BMW or an Audi and if you don’t
mind me getting away from the whole road testing thing for a moment, so it can do
things off-road that you can’t do in an internally combusted vehicle, so it
has the Land Rover-like system which is like an off-road cruise control where it
guides your speed up or downhill at any, you know, you preset it on the wheel and it just tries to maintain that speed off road, this does
that brilliantly because it doesn’t have to worry about always maintaining drive
to everywhere and preventing the engine from stalling or worrying about
softening the talk vectoring and stuff, it just decides exactly what power it
wants to put to what wheel, whenever it wants to, however it wants to.
That’s fabulous, that’s really clever and presumably it can even mimic the power
delivery of other things, so Dakar motorbikes, the big singles, apparently
they, you know, on sand sometimes they won’t get stuck and part of that is
because of the pulsing of the engine and you wouldn’t get that on a four-cylinder
motorbike because it would be providing torque too
much all the time and might bury itself in rather than helping to did itself out,
I don’t quite understand! Anyway you can do that with an electric motor if you wanted to
and you couldn’t do that with a diesel engine and an 8-speed automatic gearbox
and all of the locking diffs in the world, so from a perspective of
off-roading, from a future Land Rover perspective, I
think it’s really cool, really interesting, you could end up with a car that goes
further than any other as a result of the fact that it’s electric powered, which is
cool. In summary then is some brilliant tech, it’s really compelling, it’s really,
really impressive and the potential for it only just goes on. If it doesn’t fit
your life, you’re not gonna have one, if it does I would be in very little doubt
when I say this, I think this is the best electric car on sale today!