London - Jaguar is hoping to place itself right at the forefront of the electric car revolution with the all-electric I-Pace.
The mid-sized crossover, which fits between the E-Pace and F-Pace in terms of size, was designed around a unique aluminium architecture that uses advanced riveting and bonding technologies to make it the stiffest Jaguar ever.
Its 90kWh Lithium-ion battery is positioned between the axles to achieve a 50:50 weight distribution, and it feeds two electric motors - one up front and the other on the back axle to allow all-wheel-drive.
Jaguar claims a driving range, between charges, of up to 480km (on the WLTP cycle), although you won’t come close to that while exploiting the sports car like performance - with a total system output of 294kW and 696Nm, Jaguar claims the I-Pace will run from 0-100km/h in just 4.5 seconds.
Charging times, of course, depend on what kind of charger you have. Using that regular 7kW wall box at home will require a 10 hour wait to achieve an 80 percent charge, while a 50kW DC charger will do that in 85 minutes and a 100kW DC Rapid Charger will bring that down to 40 minutes, Jaguar says.
The I-Pace has some smart systems that help drivers to get the most out of their batteries. It can automatically raise or lower the battery temperature, for instance, to maximise range. There’s also an EV navigation system said to be capable of calculating an extremely accurate personalised range based on insights from previous journeys - even down to driving style - as well as factors from the current journey like the topography ahead.
Jaguar will market this as a proper family car as the five-seat cabin is said to match the interior space of a large SUV - and the 656 litre boot capacity is nothing to be sniffed at.
The I-Pace ushers in a new Touch Pro Duo infotainment system, which combines touchscreens, capacitive sensors and good old tactile physical controls. The system can also use artificial intelligence algorithms to identify driver preferences and tailor the driving and cabin settings accordingly.
Furthermore, drivers with Amazon Alexa enabled devices will be able to remotely monitor their vehicles, and ask questions such as “do I have enough range to get to work”.
The systems will be updated seamlessly as the I-Pace is the first Jaguar capable of providing software over the air.
Jaguar South Africa tells us that the I-Pace will become available locally during 2019. There won’t be any word on pricing or specifications until then, although don’t expect it to come cheap given that in the UK it has a higher starting price than the XJ saloon - with I-Pace models starting at £63 495 (R1.04m). Local import duties will result in an even steeper figure than that, no doubt.