I-PACE S EV400 Caesium Blue.
I-PACE S EV400 Caesium Blue. Nick Dimbleby

Electric-powered Jaguar I-Pace is a classy cat wired for fun

THIS was road trip anxiety like never before.

First there was the range analysis. Then there was the accommodation facilities. Welcome to life in an electric car ahead of mainstream adoption.

After one day the stress vanished behind the wheel of the Jaguar I-Pace.

During recent years there have been salvos pointing to the revolution ahead, but the big cat proves electric power has truly arrived.

Tesla has put electric cars on the map. The big automotive companies are about to own the land.

Jag has beaten German rivals to the electric punch, and it packs a wallop. With a sub-five-second sprint to 100km/h, it accelerates like a V8 with barely a whisper.

With a range of more than 400km it shows the plug-in power alternative is now more than a pipe dream. The caveat is a price starting from $120,000, or add another $10k for the mid-range SE model.

 

The electric-powered  Jaguar I-Pace has a range of more than 400km.
The electric-powered Jaguar I-Pace has a range of more than 400km. Grant Edwards

VALUE

The I-Pace oozes panache. Jag owners like the ability to customise and there is a swag of options and packs to meet varying tastes (rightfully there are interior options such as red, tan, ebony and oyster).

Basic equipment includes leather trim, two-zone aircon, push button start, dual touch screens on the console and a 12.3-inch display for the driver, satnav and a Meridian sound system.

The SE variant we tested added 20-inch alloys (up from 18s), power tailgate and "grained leather" sports seats.

 

The electric-powered  Jaguar I-Pace has a range of more than 400km.
The electric-powered Jaguar I-Pace has a range of more than 400km. Grant Edwards

Select a few niceties and it quickly adds up. Our extras totalled more than $10,000, including a panoramic sunroof ($3380), 10-way adjustable electric seats with heating function ($806), digital radio ($520) and a public charging cable ($425).

Helping sweeten the electric deal is a five-year/200,000km warranty - two years and 100,000km longer than the usual Jag coverage. The 90kWh battery warranty is eight years or 160,000km.

One of the dash options is an aluminium insert in front of the passenger. Depending on sun position it deflected light directly at the better half who regularly used her handbag as a blocker.

 

The electric-powered  Jaguar I-Pace has a range of more than 400km.
The electric-powered Jaguar I-Pace has a range of more than 400km. Grant Edwards

SAFETY

Even those on the outside are protected with an external airbag for pedestrians. Because of the electric power silence, Jag worked with Guide Dogs for the Blind charity to develop a Jetsons-like sound audible at speeds up to 20km/h - it also beeps when in reverse.

Five star safety is awarded across the range with autonomous emergency braking, traffic sign recognition and lane keep assist complimentary. There are some omissions which you would expect to be standard at this price, and to get active steering which can take control of the vehicle if the driver wanders from the lane it costs an extra $2230 in a driver assist pack that incorporates a 360-degree surround camera and high-speed emergency braking. Also additional is the head-up display for $1040.

 

The electric-powered  Jaguar I-Pace has a range of more than 400km.
The electric-powered Jaguar I-Pace has a range of more than 400km. Grant Edwards

DRIVING

Instant torque ensures the I-Pace whirs to life with outstanding results. It's throw your head back stuff when unleashing full futuristic noise which ultimately sounds gruff and macho the harder you push.

Apart from the soundtrack, the driving experience is similar to a standard car but some habits need to be changed. Lift your right foot and its like immediately applying the brake and often you don't need the left pedal unless coming to a complete stop. The driver learns to ease on and off the throttle to maintain complete control.

The brutal acceleration is similar to a Tesla S 75D, but the Tesla can tow up to 2250kg - the I-Pace can't haul.

Instead of the standard transmission shifter there are buttons for drive, reverse and park, with drive modes of comfort, economy and dynamic.

 

The electric-powered  Jaguar I-Pace has a range of more than 400km.
The electric-powered Jaguar I-Pace has a range of more than 400km. Grant Edwards

The steering is sharp and direct, however the turning circle is large at nearly 12 metres. That's similar to many dual cab utes.

Without any aircon operating and supported by a tailwind the I-Pace is claimed to cover 470km, but real-world experience delivered closer to 400km. Changing the fan speed can immediately alter range by 10km plus or minus.

Most buyers are expected to fork out an extra $2280 for the wall charger that offers about 35km of range for each hour plugged in, compared with 11km an hour for a standard household power point. Using a standard plug offered no issue for our week-long road test and holiday. But those who like to keep their smartphone near capacity will find it compelling to regularly connect to the grid "just in case".

 

The electric-powered  Jaguar I-Pace has a range of more than 400km.
The electric-powered Jaguar I-Pace has a range of more than 400km. Grant Edwards

Charging stations are growing in numbers, Tesla uses its own plug so they're useless, but there are about 150 charging stations around the country. Those faster chargers can give you about 270km in one hour.

Covering nearly 800km the average consumption was 24.2kWh/100km.

The average price of electricity is $0.25 per kilowatt hour, cost per 100km would be about $6. Homes with solar would prove cheaper, or those using off-peak charging.

 

Jaguar I-PACE, interior details and information screens.
Jaguar I-PACE, interior details and information screens. Nick Dimbleby

VERDICT

Jaguar has beaten the Germans to the punch, with the I-Pace arriving ahead of the Mercedes-Benz EQC and the Audi e-Tron. The electric Jag is a truly lovable car. Driving from Brisbane to Cairns would require some patience and planning, but how often do you undertake massive road trips? This is the best all-round electric offering to reach the market - you just need deep pockets.

 

The electric-powered  Jaguar I-Pace has a range of more than 400km.
The electric-powered Jaguar I-Pace has a range of more than 400km. Grant Edwards

AT A GLANCE

JAGUAR I-PACE SE AWD

PRICE $130,200 plus on-roads (expensive)

WARRANTY/SERVICING 5 years' free service, 5 years/ 200,000km warranty (good)

ENGINE 2 electric motors, 90kWh battery, 294kW/696Nm (super fast)

SAFETY 5 stars, 6 airbags, AEB, driver monitor, lane keep assist, rear camera, rear traffic monitor, speed sign recognition (solid)

THIRST 21.2kWh/ 100km (about $6 per 100km)

SPARE None; repair kit (not great)

CARGO 656L (not deep but long and large)

 

The electric-powered  Jaguar I-Pace has a range of more than 400km.
The electric-powered Jaguar I-Pace has a range of more than 400km. Grant Edwards


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