Road test: reviewing the I-Pace, Jaguar's first electric car
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Jaguar’s all-electric I-Pace has just been awarded the 2019 European Car of the Year, and Kiwis will be able to see for themselves why the SUV won the crown.
The I-Pace was first revealed at the 2016 Los Angeles motor show, it had its global launch mid-2018 before going on sale in New Zealand early this year.
There are three models in New Zealand to choose from: the I-Pace S (priced from $159,900), the SE ($169,900) and the model most Kiwi customers are opting for, the HSE ($179,900) with many speccing up the all-electric vehicle.
There has been plenty of interest in New Zealand in the I-Pace before the pricing was even revealed, and now that Kiwis can see it around the streets it will gain more traction.
Plus the title of 2019 European Car of the Year will definitely help get more eyes on the vehicle in our showrooms.
The I-Pace took out the European title from six other finalists, with European sales making up 75 per cent of total I-Pace volume.
The award recognises technical innovation, design, performance, efficiency and value for money.
Jaguar NZ general manager Steve Kenchington says the award is recognition of the level of design expertise that has gone into creating the exceptional new EV.
“This award is one of the industry’s most prestigious and is an endorsement of the next-generation technology and refined innovation that have gone into the development of the I-Pace.
“Already well received by the New Zealand market, interest in the new model continues to grow with demand far exceeding supply before the first customer’s vehicles have landed here,” he says.
Kenchington says the technology behind the I-Pace has been developed from Formula E — a class of auto racing that uses only electric-powered cars. Jaguar’s performance vehicles are tested by Kiwi drivers Mitch and Simon Evans on racing circuits around the world.
Not only is the I-Pace the first Jaguar to win the European Car of the Year title, it’s also the first electric vehicle to win that gong.
The I-Pace was designed in the UK by Ian Callum, and is the most technologically advanced battery electric vehicle.
It stands out thanks to the unique aluminium architecture working with the aerodynamics, giving it a coupe-style SUV stance.
The I-Pace’s body structure weighs 2100kg and is 94 per cent aluminium, more than any Jaguar.
There is a battery pack in the floor and two electric motors front and rear. The battery pack contains 90kWh of lithium ion batteries with 432 battery pouch cells using nickel manganese cobalt. They combine to produce 294kW of power and 696Nm of torque, which is up to V8 supercar standard.
And that torque is impressive, going from 0-100km/h in 4.8 seconds.
The I-Pace sits between the E- and F-Pace when it comes to size, with the fully electric vehicle 4682mm long, 2139mm wide and 1565mm high.
It sits 130mm lower than the F-Pace with an impressive centre of gravity.
Boot space is 656 litres, with 27 litres of cargo room available in the front boot, or froot, as Jaguar calls it. Telsa calls this front storage a frunk (front trunk).
An impressive aspect is the regenerative braking which, when set on high, means you don’t have to use the brakes any time in your journey. Instead, the moment you lift your foot off the accelerator it begins to brake, creating single pedal driving.
I drove the I-Pace at the global launch in Portugal last year, so was keen to see how it coped with New Zealand roads. My test model was the SE, with the option of 22in six spoke alloys (over standard 20in), a power tailgate, 360-degree camera (ideal for parking) and adaptive cruise control.
The SE had the addition of a panoramic roof (adding head space for rear passengers), head up display, and electronic air suspension plus other extras that added $19,400 to the price.
And if you are going to buy an I-Pace, I strongly recommend you add a home charging unit (professionally installed to gain maximum power outage) to your price.
The range in my I-Pace was around 373km, and when I got it home — with 191km of range left — I plugged into my normal wall socket and it said it would take 27 hours to charge to full.
Instead I opted for a practical idea: I had it charged to 100 per cent at a fast charger then kept “topping” it up at home. It’s a feature most owners of EVs adapt to, and with plenty of apps to show you where public charging stations are, then the range anxiety soon diminishes.
But what doesn’t diminish is the interest in the unique-looking I-Pace.
While there is no need for a front grille as there is no engine to cool, Jaguar decided on a diamond inset grille that curved at the top, not only allowing for air to flow into it and out of a vent on the bonnet, but also to create a eye catching look.
Stopped at traffic lights, I had a car parked a few vehicles behind me, pull and stop in the bus lane next to me.
The car was full of young guys who yelled through their open windows, “What is that car?”
I told them, “It’s Jaguar’s new all electric I-Pace.”
The driver high-fived his passengers while saying, “I told you so” before alternating between driving behind me when the traffic lights went green, or pulling ahead of me to get a better look at the I-Pace. As they turned off onto a side street they tooted and waved.
Hey, the most tooting of the horn you get in Auckland is not from road rage but road joy!
Jaguar I-Pace SE
Producing 294kW/ 696Nm
Pros: Head turning
Cons: Charging time