Test Drive: Jaguar iPace
Ian Lamming is smitten by Jaguar’s BEV the I-PACE
WHY? Why aren’t we all driving one of these when they are so amazing?
Like most people, it has taken a while to come to terms with the prospect of electric vehicles, but I’m now thoroughly convinced about the merits of going all battery powered. If I’d actually bothered to drive an I-PACE when Jaguar invented it many moons ago I would have been an instant convert.
I like BEVs (Battery-powered Electric Vehicles, in case you are not yet used to the acronym) more and more but I completely love the I-PACE and I’m a bit embarrassed I haven’t driven it before now despite it being one of the first to hit the roads.
I’m not just influenced by the fact that petrol is heading to up £7 a gallon – actually, no I am – but there is so much more to the I-PACE, and electrics in general, than economy. Yes, if I plug in at a supermarket it is going to be about fully charged for a tenner. If you install a proper charger at home and time it so that it fills up off-peak, overnight say, it is only going to cost around £3. Stick the equivalent fossil fuel in the petrol tank and do the same school run as I do and that journey is going to cost you £25.
But I-PACE is much more than that. The expectation with BEVs is that, somehow, there must be a compromise switching from petrol to electric, a loss of face or driver dynamics.
And that’s the biggest surprise of all, there isn’t. In fact, quite the opposite. Does your petrol powered car turn out 400hp? No, I didn’t think so. Will it hit 60mph in just over 4.5 seconds? Probably not. But the I-PACE EV400 does all of this and the power delivery is absolutely incredible.
The two electric motors churn out 696Nm of torque – that’s the lag-less pulling power you feel when you stamp on the throttle – and believe me that is a lot, more than many sports cars even.
It is not only instant, it is so controllable. For instance, I want to go fast, wumph, I’m there. I want to do 41mph, ping, bang on the money. I want to overtake the slow moving traffic, zing, I’m instantly past and safely back on my own side of the road.
When I want to brake but am feeling lazy and don’t want to move my boot off the throttle to place it on the brake pedal, no problem, just lift off and the car starts to slow markedly and the regenerative reaction this provokes actually charges the battery. You simply will not believe how quick, controllable and confidence-inspiring the I-PACE is. It blows your mind.
Then there’s the handling, which is as amazing as the performance. That’s because the underfloor batteries, and hence the bulk of the weight, is placed so low that the car’s centre of gravity is somewhere near Australia.
Add to this four wheel drive by default, because each axle has an electric motor fitted, perfect balance, because there is no heavy engine in the nose, and a wide track and you have a breath-takingly good handling car. It is just so much fun and you simply will not believe it until you have a go. SUVs should not handle this well or be this responsive.
Being a Jaguar, great thought and appliance has gone into the interior, which is capacious and accommodating. It is plush by any standard with lovely trim, fixture and fittings. The leather sports seats are incredibly comfortable and supportive, which they need to be given the lateral forces I-PACE can provoke. The boot is massive and well-shaped.
The touchscreen infotainment centre is comprehensive and easy to use, bit like your smartphone, which makes it safe as driver’s eyes can remain on the road for most of the time. It is also light and airy in the cabin thanks to plentiful supplies of glass all round, including the roof, making it the perfect ambiance for long journeys which cuts down on tiredness.
The other thing you don’t get in I-PACE is range anxiety as it will do close to 300 miles on a single charge. That is more than enough for most daily journeys and means you can drive with a heavier throttle, enjoying the performance, without any fear of running out of charge – and use the heating, heated seats and infotainment.
I-PACE’s looks are dating well and the Big Cat’s aesthetics have also been designed to cut cleanly through the air. That not only reduces air resistance and boosts range but cuts wind noise in the cabin down to next to none. With no vibration, no engine or exhaust noise and no wind turbulence, I-PACE is so smooth and quiet that it feels like you are just gliding along.
Honestly, what’s not to love. I-PACE looks smart, is a stunning drive and can carry the family, complete with all their gubbins, with consummate easy. It saves on your fuel bills, will stop the ice caps melting and there are tax benefits worth exploring too. Like I said, why aren’t we all driving one already?
Model: Jaguar I-PACE EX400 SE
Motor: twin electrics
Drivetrain: one-speed automatic
Top speed: 124mph
0-60mph: 4.5 secs
Battery Range: 292 miles
CO2 (g/km): 0