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Jaguar I-Pace first of an electric range

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Full details of the Jaguar I-Pace have been unveiled, claimed to be the first all-electric SUV from a premium European brand.

What is expected to be a vital model to the future of the manufacturer – the first of several electric Jaguars – was revealed in a live online broadcast, ahead of its public debut at the Geneva motor show next week.

And Jaguar has already opened order books for the car, at prices from £63,495 – the Government’s £4,500 grant to electric vehicle buyers will bring this down to £58,995. First deliveries are expected as soon as July.

The I-Pace has been designed from the outset as an electric vehicle (EV) and also a performance one. Its all-wheel-drive powertrain promises a 400hp output and a resultant 0-60mph time of only 4.5 seconds.

   

Jaguar I-Pace The Car ExpertThe car is built around a bespoke aluminium architecture with the battery placed between the axles to create both a low centre of gravity and perfect 50:50 weight distribution. Emphasising the car’s sporting credentials, Jaguar will even organise a race series for the I-Pace alongside the Formula E international championship for electric single-seater race cars.

However Jaguar insists that the I-Pace is also a practical EV, quoting a range between charges of up to 298 miles. It will recharge from 0 to 80% in 85 minutes using a public 50kW fast charger, and a half-hour charge will give it an 80-mile range. The car is also fully compatible with the 100kW DC rapid-charging technology being rolled out across the UK, which will cut the 80% charge time to 40 minutes.

Using a 7kW home-charging wall box for overnight charging will achieve the same 80% charge in three hours. “For I-Pace customers fuel stations are a thing of the past, after overnight charging they’ll wake up every morning with a ‘full tank of fuel'” says Jaguar I-Pace line director Ian Hoban.

Jaguar I-Pace The Car ExpertJaguar adds that while in terms of exterior dimensions a mid-sized SUV, the I-Pace will offer interior space to compare with larger SUV rivals. The lack of internal combustion engine infrastructure, such as a transmission tunnel, frees up extra interior space and storage, while the 656-litre boot expands to 1453 litres with the seats folded flat.

New technology will feature heavily in the I-Pace. The debuting Touch Pro Duo infotainment system includes a navigation system directly focused on EVs, assessing such aspects of the planned route as hills and recalling previous journeys to calculate a personalised range and charging status to provide highly accurate information.

Also debuting will be Amazon Alexa Skill. Drivers will be able to ask questions of an Alexa-enabled device on such aspects as the car’s range and whether the next journey is achievable without a recharge. The I-Pace will be the first Jaguar to update its software over-the-air.

While, however, the I-Pace will be the latest product from a thoroughly British brand and designed and developed in the UK, it will not be a strictly British car. With space at a premium in its UK plants, not to mention Brexit concerns, Jaguar has contracted Austrian giant Magna-Steyr to build the car.

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Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is the News and Road Test Editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.

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