Jaguar has emerged as the first major automaker to take on Tesla with a luxurious, dedicated electric car. The 2019 Jaguar I-Pace that debuted Thursday at the assembly plant in Graz, Austria, where it will be built will be capable of driving 240 miles on a charge and can sprint to 60 mph faster than many sports cars.
Under its shapely skin, which blurs the line between cars, crossovers, and wagons, the I-Pace features a 90-kwh lithium-ion battery pack that can be charged from empty to 80 percent in about 40 minutes using the 100-kW DC fast charger public stations now arriving in Europe, a little over double that on the 50-kW DC fast chargers more common the U.S.. On a Level 2 home charger, which uses the same kind of circuit as an electric clothes dryer, the same task takes over 10 hours.
The I-Pace can be driven with just the accelerator pedal. Letting off the accelerator—don't call it a gas pedal—induces high-regenerative braking that can bring the car to a halt in certain driving conditions like heavy traffic. Pressing the pedal again accelerates the vehicle. In traffic, drivers can turn off the vehicle's "creep" function so they can slow the I-Pace with accelerator pedal modulation.
Jaguar fits the I-Pace with two electric motors, one for each axle, to give the vehicle standard all-wheel drive. Combined, they deliver 294 kilowatts, which translates to 394 horsepower, and 512 pound-feet of torque. A single-speed transmission shuttles power to the ground.
The I-Pace rides on a dedicated electric car platform that's different from that used in Jaguar's gas- and diesel-fueled sedans and crossovers. In the I-Pace, the lithium-ion battery is integral to the vehicle's structure. Jaguar says that its low, central mounting between the axles and under the passenger compartment provides the I-Pace with a 50:50 weight distribution to provide favorable handling. An air suspension is standard equipment. Jaguar says that the I-Pace's battery will be covered by a 8-year, or 100,000-mile warranty.
All in, the I-Pace weighs just shy of 4,800 pounds—a hefty figure against the Model 3's roughly 3,800-pound curb weight.
Looks and technology
The I-Pace's front end fits in with the rest of Jaguar's lineup with a gaping grille—albeit one that doesn't provide cooling to a gas or diesel engine. From the side, the I-Pace looks something like an E-Pace crossover that's been squished down. The I-Pace's rear end reveals a tailgate that opens to a crossover-like 25.3 cubic-foot cargo area with the back seats upright. Fold the rear seats and the I-Pace can swallow up to 51 cubic feet of cargo. The I-Pace's front trunk, or frunk, opens to reveal less than a cubic foot of additional cargo space.
Since the I-Pace doesn't use a driveshaft or a transmission, Jaguar says its interior will offer size-up space in a pint-size package. By the numbers, the I-Pace stretches 117.7 inches between its axles and is 184.3 inches long overall. That's almost exactly the same overall length of the Jaguar XE sedan but with a wheelbase that's half a foot longer.
Like Teslas, the I-Pace's door handles pop out to greet users and then retract when no longer needed.
2019 Jaguar I-Pace
The I-Pace's electric powertrain isn't its only tech trick. A version of the automaker's dual-touchscreen InControl Touch Pro Duo infotainment system puts two displays front and center on the dashboard. The top unit is used for navigation and audio functions, while the lower handles climate and convenience features. Further down the center stack, the I-Pace discards with the transmission control knob seen in other Jaguars in favor of buttons that open up more space. An enormous fixed glass moonroof makes the I-Pace's interior look even airier.
A 12.3-inch screen replaces the conventional instrument cluster to relay information to the driver, although a head-up display will be on available. The I-Pace will also be the first Jaguar with an Amazon Alexa Skillset. Owners can ask their Alexa devices questions about the vehicle's state of charge and whether it has enough juice to run errands or to drive home from the office.
The I-Pace will be offered in S, SE, HSE, and a limited-run First Edition trim levels when it hits dealers in the U.S. during the second half of 2018. Jaguar hasn't detailed the I-Pace's trim level specifications. However, the automaker says that leatherette, two grades of leather, and a fabric that pairs wool-blend with suede cloth upholstery choices will be optional. Trim finishes inside will be a choice of gloss black, glossy ash wood, and machined aluminum.
Jaguar dealers will begin taking orders for the I-Pace Tuesday.