Setting the pace, or lagging behind?
We’ve tested the Jaguar I-Pace
This week, the new kid on the block was in town, looking to cause a bit of a stir. And it did just that…
Firstly, we’d like to thank Jaguar Land Rover for the opportunity to experience the new I-Pace.
At Volt-Age and our sister company Specialist Vehicle Hire, we have all sorts of vehicles coming and going. Very few cause as much fuss as the Jaguar I-Pace did. In fact I can only remember one other vehicle causing as much in my 14 years here…The Tesla Model X. This may just be because it’s a rare vehicle, and if you know, then you know, but I think it’s more than that. Numerous workers from local businesses came to get a glance and ask multiple questions afterwards. It’s a beautiful looking vehicle, but not conventional. The lack of an engine clearly gave the Jaguar design team a chance to do something different. A bull taken by both horns. There’s a slight wedge shape to it, very wide at the back but noticeably short at the front. This car feels big but it isn’t. The overall length is somewhere between a BMW 3 and 5 Series, but it feels much bigger. Especially inside.
“it’s just a nicer place to be”
Typical Jaguar Land Rover with an EV twist.
If you’ve been in a JLR vehicle recently, one thing you’ll know is that their top end products feel special. I’m normally one of JLR’s harshest critics when it comes to interiors. The lower and even middle specifications of vehicles such as the Discovery feel as if they are half built, begging to be spec’d up. The I-Pace we had on test was a middle ground SE model, and at no point did I feel underwhelmed by the cabin. The Seats were luxurious and comfortable, and the various touchscreens were intuitive and easy to use, although we aren’t talking Tesla levels of touchscreen, both they’ve been used well, and probably more suited to those of us who aren’t up for Elon’s cutting edge tech. However I think it’s very clear that Jaguar are going for Tesla’s jugular, and they’ve done a fine job. It’s just a nicer place to be.
“Overall range was a little underwhelming”
There is no denying that the I-Pace is a beautiful vehicle. It does however appear to have issues. Currently there is only one battery variant of the I-Pace, unlike Tesla and Hyundai who offer different battery sizes at varying costs dependant on your requirements. Whilst not every user will need a range in excess of 300 miles, there are still plenty of business users who do, and their only option is to buy a Tesla product. You would assume that Jaguar would be well aware that around a 300+ mile range (which the 64 kWh Hyundai Kona can just about achieve, although we haven’t tested one) is a necessity to persuade these Tesla customers to jump ship. You’d assume. From our experience the overall range was a little underwhelming, as you can see from the above image. Our model was reading 202 miles from a 99% charge, not even close to the 300 miles we would have expected. That issue aside, and potentially an even bigger issue. Charging. Currently the vast majority of Rapid DC chargers currently output at 50 kw, which is only half of the 100 kw the I-Pace is capable of charging at. This would take just shy of 90 mins to add an 80% charge. When you compare this to the Model S 100D’s charging time of 96 mins, things don’t seem too bad. It’s when a 50 kWh charger isn’t available that things go bad for the I-Pace. I’ve published a small conversion table below, by using the Zap Map calculator (which can be found here). Many may think that this isn’t a massive deal, but business users travelling up and down the motorways will tell you otherwise. Having been sat at a service station with the Ecotricity Rapid Charger not working, I for one have given the Tesla owners who are happily charging, a very strong jealous stare. They get the use of the Tesla Supercharger Network which is the difference here. Jaguar are relying on 50 kWh chargers to sell the I-Pace, but the fact the car can only accept up to a 7 kWh charge through the normal type 2 charger is poor. In real terms, it’s entirely possible that a 40 min Tesla charge could turn into almost 10 and a half in an I-Pace if the right charger isn’t available.
Overall the Jaguar I-Pace is a beautifully designed car inside and out. It handles impeccably, and swallows up any lumps and bumps that the road throws at it. I’m sure that it will sell in numbers, as there are plenty of people who aren’t charmed by Mr Musk’s creations, and currently there aren’t any other premium options. The charging issue is one that won’t go away though, and for that reason, this isn’t the Tesla killer it was billed to be. Check out our review footage below.