The Jaguar I-Pace is Jaguar’s first attempt at an electric car and the media hasn’t been nice to it. We find out if these statements are true.

We’ve heard a lot of bad things about the I-Pace in the press. Particularly in terms of the range, they reported that a lot of people didn’t meet the figures Jaguar claims the car can do.
So we wanted to see for ourselves if this was the case or if this was just ‘fake news’. So we contacted Jaguar who very quickly agreed to lend one to us. We could even select which color the car would be. Since the last cars had the trend of being blue. A silver one looked nice for a change. It accidentally also has it’s own name on the license plate. One of the better things Belgium does right.

Electric juice

The Jaguar I-Pace is fitted with a 90 kWh battery pack. This store the juice that runs to the 2 electric motors that provide 200 hp each. With its 400 hp, it does the sprint to 100 km/h in 4,8 seconds. A respectable time but it is the way electric cars accelerate that makes them feel like rocket ships. No internal combustion engine (ICE for short) can pull of the instant torque you get as soon as you touch the pedal. Under acceleration, the I-Pace will produce a dynamic sound which something like hitting light speed in the Millenium Falcon. It’s cool and maybe a bit quirky but if you’re no fan of such artificial sounds coming from the speakers, there’s the option to easily switch it off.

The handling is flat too. I mean the body roll, there’s so little noticeable for an SUV but it’s still very comfortable. Dampening is great thanks to the adjustable air suspension.

The look of the future?

From the front, you instantly recognize the I-Pace as a Jaguar. The big air intakes in combination with the cat-like matrix headlights and the functional (!) hood scoop give off the Jaguar vibe instantly.

The back, however, stumbled upon confusion with the people I talked about the I-Pace. The sort of “coupĂ©” style SUV is something we haven’t seen yet with Jaguar. It’s an interesting design choice for sure but personally, I think the design is too square at the back to match the sleek front. Just a minor retweak on the car’s hips would make a lot of difference.
But being it not going full coupĂ© SUV it means that there’s still a lot of space inside the trunk. We filled it up with all our camera gear and still had room. So we decided to try and squeeze a body in there as well. Didn’t fully work…

It’s a choice you’ll have to make. Either bring your camera gear or the body. Both won’t work sadly.
Our favorite feature though? The big protruding diffusor coming from under the car.
Oh, and the fitting license plate was also a neat finishing touch.

Inside the cabin is simple yet elegant. The climate controls look very futuristic with the displays inside and work like a charm by pushing or pulling to choose your different functions.
The center screen to use other controls like climate and Carplay is a bit low down so the touch interface takes your eyes a bit too much off the road than you’d like.
The upper screen is a sharp 10″ screen that shows you all the things you’re used to plus some cool graphs about the characteristic electric parts of the I-Pace.
Our I-Pace was fitted with the performance seats which sit like a dream. They are extremely comfortable for long-distance trips but hug you extremely well. I’ve rarely sat in a seat that keeps me better in place and let me feel how the car responds to every bump.

Different mindset

Driving electric requires a different approach than what you’re used to in a car with an ICE. Most notably in deceleration because the electric motors will harness otherwise lost energy. This process essentially “brakes” the car without having to touch the brake pedal. And after a while, you can practically drive this car with just one pedal. You can still reduce the energy recovery to make the car roll out like any other ICE but then you’re missing a lot of potential energy savings.

So other than a different driving style it also requires some planning for longer trips. As good or as far as the best electric car on sale today is. It is limited by the charging network and charging time. Jaguar supplies a 7 kW charging point as an option to install at home. This will give you an additional 35 km of range per hour. If you’re on the road and want to gain charge quickly, a 50 kW (or higher) DC fast charger is your best bet since it will give you up to 270 km of range per hour.

However, in real life scenario’s it’s not as easy to find these. You can find a lot of slower chargers in a lot of places these days. But the fast chargers are still hard to find. And with the 4 fast charging points that I’ve used. One of them was out of service. And another one completely shut off 15 minutes into charging with no possibility to restart the charging. Now, this is by no means the car’s fault but it does make longer drives a little harder. And it will require a more structured approach to where you plan to stop and take a break.

Also, people have been giving the I-Pace a lot of bad reviews because it wouldn’t come close to the mentioned range but there are a few factors to think about. First of all the wheels, if you get the 22″ wheels like the ones fitted on our test car you’re going to lose around 50 km of range. They look freakishly cool but it’s a tough choice you’re going to have to make. Secondly, the outside temperature will play into effect too. 30 degrees is the sweet spot for the car and anything below or above that will reduce the range if you’re not using air conditioning or heating that is.
And finally, it’s the way you drive it too. Use it only on highways and you might lose around 100 km of range compared to city driving. This is because the car can recuperate its energy in urban areas.

And none of this is a secret. Jaguar has this neat tool on their website to give you an example of how the I-Pace would handle in your specific situation. We tested this with the circumstances we drove the I-Pace in and used the app to calculate our range. The tool predicted we would have a range of 343 km which turned into 359 km in real life. So kudos to Jaguar for all this information they hand out. It may look dramatic but what would make you think that this is any different in any other car?

Is the I-Pace unplugged before its debut?

The critics have been hard (oil industry lobby maybe?) but they only touched the surface. When you go deeper into the I-Pace you see if for what it really is. And it really is a great electric car. If you’re someone who has to drive a lot of kilometers each day, this might not be the car for you (yet). But most people never drive more than 300 km in a day. Okay, it has its flaws but for a first-generation electric car, the I-Pace really is an awesome day-to-day vehicle.