One of the biggest problems with electric vehicles (EVs), I feel, is cosmetic, leaving aside range anxiety or the hassle of finding a free charging spot. Tesla’s Model S might be a gorgeous looking car, but you couldn’t say the same of the more popular and more affordable Nissan Leaf, the Renault Zoe or the Kia Soul EV. Though beauty may indeed lie in the eyes of the beholder, perhaps good looks simply come at a premium in this segment – the Model S starts at €81,086, the BMW i8 at €142,360, far outside the budgets of many motorists who buy with their eyes as much as their head.
And now we have the futuristic Jaguar I-PACE Concept, which leans towards the latter category of good looks for a bigger price (and, to be fair, a few more features). Combining the aggressive Jaguar prow with big wheels, SUV styling and shades of the Volvo V40 in the profile, the concept car recently took a leap towards production in taking a spin on the streets of London for the first time, albeit on a closed road inside the Olympic Park.
The initial figures are impressive – 0-100km/h in four seconds courtesy of twin electric motors producing 400hp (placed on either end for near perfect weight distribution), 700Nm of torque (as much as the impressive F-Type SVR), and a top speed of 193km/h from the all-wheel drive EV.
Charge times and range are among the biggest concerns for EV owners and, according to Jaguar, the I-PACE will reach 80% in 90 minutes and last up to 500km on a single charge. If that translates to the real world then Tesla might well have a battle on its hands, though the I-PACE’s range in less than perfect conditions is likely to be a little less impressive. There’s also space for five adults – and quite a bit of luggage in the 530L boot – courtesy of the more space efficient electric drivetrain.
And, because it’s a Jag, you know the interior is going to be impressive. Alongside a 12-inch digital instrument panel, a central 12-inch touchscreen and a futuristic dash a little reminiscent of the BMW i3, there are leather seats with cricket ball stitching and a panoramic glass roof to maximise the feeling of space inside.
Due to go on sale in 2018 (Jaguar is accepting pre-orders now), the I-PACE will weigh in at around £60,000 (€69,000), somewhere in between the BMW i3 and Tesla’s Model S. Jaguar is feeling positive about its potential success; perhaps the I-PACE can tempt the more environmentally conscious Jaguar enthusiasts or others within the premium market to make the move to electric.
“The feedback on the I-PACE Concept has been fantastic. With the I-PACE Concept we’ve torn up the rule book to create a vehicle with supercar inspired aesthetics, sports car performance and SUV space, in one electric package. It has surprised people and the enthusiasm for our first electric vehicle has been beyond all my expectations,” says Ian Callum, Jaguar’s Director of Design. “Driving the concept on the streets is really important for the design team. It’s very special to put the car outside and in the real-world. You can see the true value of the I-PACE’s dramatic silhouette and powerful proportions when you see it on the road, against other cars. The I-PACE Concept represents the next generation of battery electric vehicle design. For me, the future of motoring has arrived.”