The Jaguar I-Pace – easily the most radical car in its 81-year history – will vault the brand into central Tesla territory.
The all-new battery-electric SUV, unveiled this week as a concept at the Los Angeles motor show, changes practically every traditional Jaguar ingredient and is due on the road in about 18 months’ time. It marks the start of a bold new chapter in the engineering and design history of Jaguar Land Rover.
Jaguar’s brief for its long-anticipated first electric vehicle was to “create a performance SUV that is spacious, sporty and usable”, but the final design isn’t merely an electric version of the successful F-Pace SUV.
Instead, the I-Pace exploits the packaging advantages of an electric powertrain to marry a sleek four-door bodystyle with generous cabin space, four-wheel drive capability and performance on a par with a rear-wheel-drive Jaguar F-Type R.
The definitive production version of the I-Pace will be revealed at the end of next year, with most of the concept’s key features likely to be carried over. The car will go on sale in 2018 at a price expected to be about 10-15% above that of an F-Pace of similar specification, although Jaguar remains tight-lipped on pricing.
Here’s why the Jaguar I-Pace needs to drive like a Jaguar
The I-Pace will take on Tesla’s Model X, the Audi e-tron and a production version of the Mercedes Generation EQ concept shown at the Paris motor show in September.
NEW EV ARCHITECTURE
The I-Pace Concept uses a new, bespoke, battery electric vehicle architecture designed in-house. Jaguar said the electric architecture, informally referred to as the ‘electric skateboard’, is production ready.
As with other Jaguars, the I-Pace’s architecture is aluminium-intensive. The housing of the battery pack is made from the material and forms an integral part of the car’s body structure.