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Jaguar I-Pace: Meet the closest rival to a Tesla

The Jaguar I-Pace has been unveiled ahead of its 2018 Geneva Motor Show debut. We were lucky enough to have the facts early and can now legally share what we know, including the UK price, driving range, performance figures and, most important of all, whether you can get golf clubs in the boot.

Back in 2017 we were were at the filming of a Top Gear episode and the car we were standing next to in the audience was the Jaguar I-Pace concept. This was our first in-the-flesh glimpse of a car that marks a significant step in Jaguar’s direction as a company because by 2020 the British manufacturer wants there to be an electrified version of every model on sale and, truth be told, we rather liked it.

To say the design of the I-Pace (Jaguar’s first electric production car) is everyone’s cup of tea would be a total lie, of course, but the concept car certainly had presence, which can be difficult to achieve when trying to combine speed and practicality. If anything, our only gripe was that it probably should have been called the E-Pace to avoid confusion, but then that name is now taken by its compact SUV.

It will take more than a lot of self-congratulation and the presence of comedian Jack Whitehall to be a success, though. Tesla is further ahead of the curve than anyone, Hyundai just upped the game with the Kona SUV and just about every other manufacturer is going electric. Has Jaguar’s first all-electric car got what it takes?

What is the Jaguar I-Pace?

Very little has changed in terms of the I-Pace Concept and production car. Jaguar is keen to point out that it has been built from the ground up with electrification in mind, as opposed to converting an existing vehicle, and that fact been seen throughout. Produced in Austria, it sits on a bespoke aluminium platform that houses a bespoke battery and bespoke electric motors – one on each axle.

In terms of design, the I-Pace is a sports utility vehicle (SUV) with a subtle nod to the X-C75 supercar concept that never was. A mere 10mm longer than the XE, the total length, width and height is 4,682mm, 2,139mm (including the mirrors) and 1,565mm, respectively.

Space for five passengers is available and there should be decent leg room, thanks to a 2,990mm long wheelbase. It should also handle well, given that its centre of gravity is 130mm lower than an F-Pace (which, as we saw in a recent Jaguar mega-test, is no slouch) and has a 50:50 weight distribution. Jaguar also says it is the most torsionally rigid car in its 82-year history.

Rather than bamboozle consumers with numbers, the I-Pace can be had with just one power output and battery capacity, which we will get to in a second. The weight is from 2,133kg, depending on what extras are attached to it.

Is a hairdryer more powerful?

Electric motors can generate a lot of horsepower and torque without taking up as much space as a petrol or diesel equivalent. In the I-Pace there are two electric motors, each developing 197bhp (200PS) for a total output of 394bhp (400PS).

Torque, meanwhile, is an equally healthy 512lb/ft (696Nm), which is sent to the wheels by an electric all-wheel drive system.

That makes it less powerful than a top of the range Tesla Model S or Model X P100D, but then it has the bottom of the range 75D beat – there’s a Jaguar 0-60-0mph promotional video for proof – and it costs £13,005 in its most basic form. To be fair, you need to spend upwards of £100,000 for that ridiculous sub-three second sprint the top Teslas can muster.

How fast can the Jaguar I-Pace go?

The I-Pace is a big car that weighs quite a lot, but it can still muster 0-62mph (100kmh) in 4.8 seconds. Bouncing off the limiter, so to speak, happens at 124mph (200kmh), which is less than the fastest Tesla by some margin but really only an issue if you plan on blasting up and down the German Autobahn.

Braking is taken care of by 350mm ventilated discs and calipers at the front and 325mm ventilated discs at the rear. The I-Pace’s springs, meanwhile, are either of the air or coil variety depending on whether you go for passive dampers (standard fixtures) or active air suspension, and the steering uses an electro-mechanical rack and pinion system.

Will the Jaguar I-Pace run out of electric after 10 miles?

Okay, so even the smallest Tesla battery can go further on a single charge. But the Jaguar I-Pace’s battery capacity of 90kWh, which is liquid cooled to ensure the range is maintained regardless of the weather, has a WLTP range of up to 298 miles. WLTP being the more difficult test for emissions, efficiency and range, which we explain in more detail over here.

Can it make me a cup of Earl Grey tea?

Sadly, no, but it does have two fancy touchscreens in the centre console and is the first Jaguar to feature the Touch Pro Duo ‘Flight Deck’ infotainment system, which includes Alexa support so you can ask it I-Pace-related questions such as ‘what is my remaining range?’. It also has a 12-inch Interactive Driver Display where analogue dials would usually live and a head-up display.

It will also be possible to precondition the I-Pace before getting in using the InControl Remote app and over time it will use a combination of Bluetooth and and the key fob to work out who is about to drive the vehicle and set it up accordingly. Seating position, infotainment settings and temperature can all be predetermined so you can just get in and drive.

Then there is the 4G WiFi hotspot and USB ports for all five passengers, so there is no need to peel yourself away from the Internet when driving somewhere (which is both good and bad). But like with other Jaguars, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay is nowhere to be seen.

Arguably the most significant addition is the ability for the I-Pace to receive over-the-air updates, something almost all electric vehicles lack and a big part of what makes the Tesla experience that bit more appealing. It is entirely possible to wake up one morning and find your car is faster or more efficient, as has been the case with the Model S and Model X.

What about Jaguar I-Pace emissions and running costs?

With a 0-29cd, the I-Pace is very good at negating the negatives or aerodynamic forces. CO2 emissions are zero locally, which is the case for all other gases because the I-Pace emits nothing at all.

Overall eco-friendliness is, of course, largely governed by the cleanliness of the power source you recharge it with. In the UK, green energy is becoming more prominent but it could be better. In Norway, the I-Pace would be about as green as it gets.

Running costs will vary, depending on the price of electric and knowing that you do have to pay to use most chargers. A full tank of electric at home should be somewhere around £10, which makes it cheaper to run than a petrol or diesel – particularly if you drive in a boringly efficient manner.

Then there is the fact electric motors use far fewer moving parts and are, therefore, less likely to go wrong.

What is the Jaguar I-Pace First Edition all about?

Those who have enviable amounts of disposable income and want the best I-Pace configuration possible can go for the First Edition, which includes 20-inch five-spoke alloys in Technical Grey, Photon Red exterior paint job, Matrix LED headlights with signature daytime running lights, First Edition branded metal treadplates and a choice of Ebony or Light Oyster for the interior to go with the Gloss Charcoal Ash First Edition Veneer.

The I-Pace First Edition, which is inspired by the concept car, also comes with a fixed panoramic roof for maximum sunlight potential, headlight power wash and all the stuff you get on the less expensive S and SE models.

What is the battery recharge time?

Plug it into a wall socket and you can expect seriously long charging times. But in all honestly the I-Pace will be charged at home where a 7kW AC wall charger can be installed. Using one of these, the I-Pace can go from empty to full in 12.9 hours (80 per cent is achieved in eight hours). At a 50kW charger, the time to 80 per cent drops to one hour and twenty five minutes.

There are no 100kW chargers in the UK, at the time of writing anyway, but there is the potential to use one of these and see an 80 per cent charge in 40 minutes. As long as it takes to eat a sandwich, find a service station and remember where you parked your car.

Often overlooked is the battery longevity. Jaguar guarantees eight years of life and will replace the battery if either a defect occurs or a certified Jaguar retailer finds the battery has dropped below a 70 per cent state of health.

Can I get my golf clubs in the boot?

You sure can because the boot is a vast 656 litres with the rear seats in place. As for leg room, there is up to 895mm of the stuff because of that aforementioned long wheelbase. Head room is a more impressive 968mm, so although the I-Pace is sized like an XE it is more akin to a large SUV. Neat, eh? There is also a 24-litre storage space in the middle of the car.

What about the Jaguar I-Pace price, delivery and on-sale date?

You can configure and pre-order the Jaguar I-Pace right now using the official website, with deliveries expected to begin at the end of 2018 or the start of 2019– assuming Jaguar can avoid mirroring Tesla’s production hiccups.

Prices start from £63,495 for an I-Pace S, £69,495 for an I-Pace SE and £74,495 for the I-Pace HSE. All prices ignore the UK government of £4,500. The I-Pace First Edition comes in at £81,495. For comparison, a Tesla Model X 75D costs from £70,500 including the grant.