People of this decade must tip their hats to Elon Musk. After all, he’s been the forward-thinking genius this era so desperately needed. From revolutionizing electric vehicles, to founding a rocket company, to now getting the green light to build a high-speed underground train in Chicago, the tech billionaire seems to be unstoppable. However, if there’s one thing we in the auto industry know, it’s that all gearheads have the same thing driving their souls: competition. And while Tesla may have pioneered the current EV movement, it’s only natural for others to step into the ring. And a recent contender has done just that—one that’s been a heavy-hitter for nearly a century now. Introducing, the brand new Jaguar I-Pace.
Jaguar I-Pace Just Raised the Stakes
We all knew this day would come eventually: internal combustion is singing its swan song and the future of electric vehicles is upon us. From the beginning, fossil fuels have been the primary source of power for the automobile. And while they’ve served us well, clean power is what the planet needs to ensure a sustainable healthy future. It’s only natural that companies like Jaguar would get on board in order to survive. In fact, the company announced last year that it intends to convert its entire lineup into electric and hybrid vehicles by 2020. And if the new Jaguar I-Pace is any indication of what’s to come, consider us impressed.
Our friend across the pond proudly declares the Jaguar I-Pace as the “ultimate all-electric performance SUV“. And while the significance of the I-Pace’s reduced carbon footprint isn’t lost on us, we have to believe that the motive isn’t all about clean energy. Electric-powered vehicles have opened the door to all new proving grounds. And perhaps the engineers at Jaguar would be hard-pressed to say that getting involved in the EV movement wasn’t at least a tiny bit about seeing if they could best the top contender at their own game. The Jaguar I-Pace may be a sport SUV weighing in at nearly two tons, but it’s proving that the days of believing that electric motors are weak, gutless powerhouses are over. And it has situated itself in the market to directly compete with the Tesla Models S and X.
A Dynamic Exterior
So, how does it stack up in comparison? Well, let’s talk appearances first. The Jaguar I-Pace is a sport SUV, and the exterior styling distinguishes it as such. Sporty design cues on the hood and rocker panels complement the natural shape of the car. And, because it’s electric—and lacking that hulking IC engine under the hood—things can be moved around a bit. Mainly, the front end can be a lot shorter. “The bold grille curves inward—reducing drag by channeling air through the hood scoop and out, where it passes over a roofline that is curved for maximum efficiency,” says the company. And speaking of drag, at just 0.29, this SUV cuts through the wind as well as a supercar. Hats off to Jaguar for that accomplishment.
And if the absence of engine sound has you wondering how anyone could enjoy leaning on the throttle in an I-Pace: don’t worry. Jaguar has already thought of that. Obviously, battery electric vehicles are silent. But at the touch of button, Jaguar ensures that drivers can still get a thrill with a simulated engine sound to complement their spirited driving. The futuristic note is a nice touch by designers, and exactly what one would come to expect from years of Sci-Fi flicks.
A Luxurious Interior
Moving inside, it’s clear that even in compact design, the British auto legend is still at the top of its game. The Jaguar I-Pace offers an incredibly spacious and luxurious interior. “There are five full seats, innovative storage, a substantial rear cargo space of over 25.3 cubic feet and 0.95 cubic feet in the front storage compartment,” continues the company. Tesla may have made an impact with its straightforward and user-friendly interior styling, but Jaguar brings the class. The inside of the new I-Pace is exactly what you’d expect from the luxury automaker, with quality craftsmanship, premium leather, and a cabin that elicits the calmness of a mountaintop sanctuary. This car is a true Jag. And the company assures on its website that, “every Jaguar vehicle feels like no other car on the road. Moving to all-electric power doesn’t change this.”
Some Impressive Specs
So, let’s talk numbers, shall we? The Jaguar I-Pace is capable of producing 394-hp and 512 lb-ft of torque, which is enough to move the SUV from 0-60 in 4.9 seconds. Both the Models S and X are rated at 518-hp, with 792 lb-ft and 387 lb-ft of torque respectively. But in a 0-60 test by Jaguar, the Model X fell short of the I-Pace despite its higher output.
On full charge, The Jaguar I-Pace has a range of about 240 miles, placing it right alongside the Model X’s 237-289, and a little behind the S’s 249-315. Price: the Model S starts around $74,500 and the X $79,500, while the Jaguar I-Pace, quite surprisingly, starts at $69,500. While it may be a bit behind in power, the legendary styling and comfort options that define a Jaguar—plus a lower entry price than a less luxurious Tesla—make it an even trade-off for the right customers. Indeed, Google’s self-driving program, Waymo, sees the value. It has reportedly ordered 20,000 of the I-Paces to put into service as robo-taxis by 2020. (That’s a cab that would surely make traffic more bearable.)
An Attractive Future
The new Jaguar I-Pace shows us that we aren’t beholden to Tesla’s vision of the EV future. For a vehicle whose styling cues were largely dictated by its necessity for efficiency, it still manages to be sporty, attractive, and posh in a way that only Jaguars can. Just imagine the possibilities as batteries get smaller, cheaper, and more powerful. And yes, as gearheads at heart, you may have to pry our beloved IC engines from our cold dead hands. But if this is what a world of EVs could look like, the future ain’t looking so bad after all…