Become an Expert on the Jaguar I-PACE

The electric car is here.

Well, it has been for some time. But we’re not talking about beared greenies in woollen jumpers converting old hatchbacks with kits bought online, or new-wave lefties buying a Prius and then sprouting their newfound environmentalism at any given opportunity.

No, this is a proper car. A Jaguar, in fact. One that you can drive every day without a hint of smugness, and one that you can park at work or dinner and receive admiration for what it is, not for what it represents.

The I-PACE is a desirable Jaguar first, and an electric car second. This alone highlights that the future is now.

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The not-so-greasy bits

The I-PACE is the first all-electric luxury car from a major, established manufacturer. We’ve known for some time that the likes of Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi are all working on similar projects, but Jaguar has got the jump on them all.

A 90kw/h lithium ion battery pack sits flat and low under the passenger compartment, spanning between the front and rear axles. Except, there aren’t any axles. Four permanent magnetic motors, each weighing 38kg and wearing bespoke Jaguar patents, sit at each corner of the car, sending their instantaneous torque to their respective single wheel.  

With the freedom enabled by the lack of a conventional drivetrain, an elegant and spacious aluminium body encapsulates the four passengers, giving the interior space of a Porsche Cayenne from a footprint of the smaller Macan.

Suspension at the front is by conventional double wishbones, the rear is handled by an integral link setup, with smoother riding airbag dampers as an option. Adaptive Dynamics are configurable by the driver.

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300 miles per hour

Same metric, different meaning. Adding 300 miles worth of juice in an hour sounds great, and the headlines shout about being able to charge a battery from flat to full in 40 minutes, which is technically correct. But the I-PACE will only charge as fast as it can be supplied electricity from an external source, and specialist 100kw chargers are quite thin on the ground right now. But as the technology develops, they will become increasingly available.

More common right now are the 50kw DC charging stations, one of which you can have installed in your driveway/garage/parking space if you so wish. Hunting one of those out will give you an 80 percent charge in 85 minutes, which is more than acceptable for day-to-day duties.

The I-PACE can also be plugged into the wall just like a toaster, but a conventional 230V socket will take over 10 hours for that 80 percent charge. Heaven forbid if you only have 110V available – the I-PACE will need an entire day.

Minor lifestyle adjustments will need to be made on rare occasions, but they are hardly much of a hardship. The average daily commute is 38 miles according to Jaguar, which makes the I-PACE’s 240-mile range perfectly acceptable. However, longer trips will need to be more carefully planned. At the drop of a hat and embarking from London on a full charge, the I-PACE could just reach Liverpool heading North and most of the way to Paris, heading South.

If you’ve ever found yourself caught with a flat mobile phone and no charger, you’ll know how inconvenient a low battery can be. Want to visit family in Glasgow? You’ll need to plan an 85-minute stop somewhere along the route. 

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Tech to the rescue

Jaguar knows this, and the I-PACE features plenty of tech to normalise the impact on your life.

When plugged into a socket overnight and the next morning’s journey is input via the Jaguar smartphone app, the batteries pre-heat themselves to operating temperature, which removes the impact of temperature variability on storage capacity. The I-PACE will also pre heat or cool the cockpit to your chosen temperature before your journey begins. As well as being nice and cosy for when you jump in, the energy used to do it has come from the wall socket, preserving available range.

The EV Navigation, integrated into the Touch Pro Duo infotainment unit, takes active steps to help with your range anxiety. It takes topography and traffic conditions into account to suggest routes that may not be the shortest but use the least amount of energy. It will also recognise if there is insufficient charge to reach the destination, and suggests potential charging stops that can be made on the way.

There are active air ducts in the front that smooth airflow to exit via through the bonnet vent when cooling is not required, and the elegant Kammtail design has a low aerodynamic cD of just 0.29. Brake regeneration will also recover almost all energy when braking, feeding it back as additional range.

The I-PACE is the first Jaguar to support ‘Over the Air’ software updates, meaning that Jaguar will be able to send updates for the infotainment, telematics and battery management software to the car online, avoiding a visit to the dealer.

How heavily the I-PACE will impact on your lifestyle depends on how much short-notice long distance travel you do, and how quickly the infrastructure can be rolled out across the country to support it. It will become less of an issue as time goes on. 

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It's still a Jaguar

0-60mph in 4.5 seconds, 395bhp, and 513lbft keeps things lively. Electric motors produce 100 percent of their torque from zero rpm, making the I-PACE plenty quick enough. A different type of fun, yes, but fun nonetheless.

Jaguar engineers paid fanatical attention to weight distribution, and here the I-PACE boasts a perfect 50/50 front/rear weight bias. The batteries are still relatively heavy but they sit as low as can be, and the I-PACE’s centre of gravity lies a full 130mm lower than the F-PACE.

Having an electric motor at each wheel gives four-wheel drive, and advanced Torque Vectoring By Braking software will make the I-PACE far more agile than its weight would suggest.

Jaguar are even taking the I-PACE racing in the I-PACE E-Trophy, acting as the primary support race for the global FIA Formula E series. 

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The future looks bright

Technology is moving quickly, and I-PACE owners will first benefit from increased frequency and speed of charging in the near futrure. In fact, Jaguar has contractual agreements with suppliers in each I-PACE market to develop and future proof the charging network.

Debate raged for years at to what would replace fossil fuels, and it seems that electricity is winning. Of course, an electric car is only as green as the source of its electricity, which is where the focus is now shifting.

The next all-electric Jaguar will be the XJ saloon; the quiet serenity of electric propulsion seems perfectly suited to the goals of a luxury limousine.

Development will now be largely focussed on battery technology – Jaguar are reportedly working on a solid-state battery in a partnership with the University of Warwick, which is set to deliver a cheaper, lighter and more environmentally friendly method of storing energy. Deliveries with this technology are expected in the mid 2020s.

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Exciting times

Make no mistake, we are currently living in some of the most exciting times in automotive history, and the I-PACE is a crucial juncture in the story of the electric car.

Plenty of us are sceptical as to what the future holds for the car enthusiast, but just remember that fuel injection was once viewed as an unnecessary evil, and it has had almost zero impact on our enjoyment of carburetted Jaguars.  

The Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club is your home for all Jaguars, no matter their fuel or type of propulsion. Click HERE to learn more about joining the club today. 

Words by Andrew Coles.