By: IOL Motoring Staff

Whitley, Coventry - This is Jaguar's first electric car concept, but it's more than that. It's a production preview of the I-Pace electric SUV which will be shown next year and on the road in 2018. It's so close to the real thing, in fact, that customers are being invited to register now to become one of the first I-Pace owners.

The concept will be shown in public for the first time at the Los Angeles motor show tomorrow - Wednesday 16 November - and the concept is already there, but that didn't stop Jaguar director of design Ian Callum from hosting a virtual reality reveal for more than 300 guests, including Miranda Kerr, James Corden, David Gandy and Fast and Furious star Michelle Rodriguez.

In what is believed to be the largest live and connected virtual reality event yet, groups of 66 guests at a time were transported from VR hubs in London and Los Angeles into a specially created virtual space, along with Callum and vehicle line director Ian Hoban.

Using special headsets, they could 'sit' on the concept's virtual seats with a 360 degree view of Venice Beach as the concept was built piece by piece around them.

They could sit in the front or rear seats, interact with each other and explore the interior, including a panoramic glass roof and two touch-screens to deliver information when and where it's needed, while watching Callum and Hoban explain the design process and technology behind the concept using high-resolution graphics.

High-performance SUV

The concept's 147kW electric motors - one on each axle - and 90kWh lithium-ion battery pack were designed in-house by Jaguar Land Rover, to give a combined output of 294kW and 700Nm, all of which is available from zero revs, as with all electric vehicles. The result is a luxurious, all-wheel drive five-seater SUV that looks about the size of a Range Rover Evoque, capable of launching from 0-100km/h in around four seconds.

Range from as full charge is estimated at 'more than 350km' using the US EPA test cycle and 'more than 500km' on the EU NEDC test cycle; in either case, a full charge should take a little more than two hours using a typical public 50kW direct-current charging network, while plugging it into a 220V wall socket overnight will give it more than enough amps to handle an average daily commute of about 50km.

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