Keeping Pace with change: why Jaguar's BEV is one of its most important models ever
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Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) technology is no longer considered a novelty – especially among premium carmakers, who are rushing to adopt electric powertrains in halo models.
Jaguar’s I-Pace was not only one of the first models in this luxury-BEV segment, it’s also become infinitely more significant in 2021 following the announcement of the brand’s “Reimagine” strategy, a “sustainably rich” strategy that dictates Jaguar becoming an all-electric maker from 2025 and a net carbon zero business by 2039.
“Jaguar and Land Rover will offer pure electric power, nameplate by nameplate, by 2030,” says chief executive officer Thierry Bollore. “By this time, in addition to 100 per cent of Jaguar sales, it is anticipated that around 60 per cent of Land Rovers sold will be equipped with zero-tailpipe powertrains.”
So the I-Pace has gone from representing a bold departure from traditional Jaguar models to encapsulating the future of the brand in a very literal sense.
As it turns out, the clean-sheet approach was entirely justified. Since launch it’s won World Car of the Year, European Car of the Year, German Car of the Year, British Car of the Year, Green Car of the Year and of course New Zealand Car of the Year (in 2019).
The I-Pace rides on a bespoke BEV platform, with an “EV400” powertrain specification that brings a 90kWh battery, 294kW peak power (0-100km/h in 4.8 seconds) and a WLTP-certified range of 294km.
It can charge at up to 100kW on a suitable DC station, meaning 127km of range can be potentially added in 15 minutes.
While the powertrain specification is singular, I-Pace buyers have a similar level of choice in trim to any other Jaguar. The range runs from S ($149,900) to SE ($159,900) to HSE ($169,900). There’s also the expected dizzying array of personalisation and option packages – literally several pages in the brochure.
Because the car is not designed around a traditional engine and gearbox layout (the batteries are low across the skateboard-like platform), the interior packaging and sleek exterior profile take full advantage of BEV design flexibility.
Jaguar has also set about quietly establishing motorsport credentials for the I-Pace. The launch of Formula E provided a valuable platform for battery development, which became I-Pace-specific with the supporting eTrophy series.
There’s a Kiwi connection to eTrophy, too. New Zealander Simon Evans won the 2020 season-two series after a tough battle with defending champion Sergio Jiminez. Evans’ I-Pace eTrophy racecar is now resident in New Zealand as part of the Jaguar Land Rover promotional fleet.