Electric Vehicles are a new thing, right?
Those of us that were born over a certain time period – not the young or really, really old – have been (until pretty recently) essentially unaware of the existence of battery-powered/Electric motor vehicles.
Sure there was the car that everyone ‘hip’ in Hollywood owned in the ‘90’s and golf carts but you see, we (my generation and a few before) have grown up bathing in fossil fuel and muscle cars, high CC’s and apparently even bigger emissions, battery’s are for toys. However, who knew that the Oil crisis of the ‘70’s and Mad Max in ‘80’s were both, catalysts of change and maybe the prediction of things to come…
As it turns out, EV’s have been around since the mid-1800’s and actually held the land-speed record (105.88km/h) until 1902 – when they were finally beaten by steam. The Internal combustion engine (ICE) came along and for the next half a century plus, things became rather quiet (get it) for EVs.
The 1970’s saw Oil become difficult to source and the automotive industry began to seek other forms of fuel, one German marque launched a battery car and NASA put one on the moon (not the German car).
Much of the above is to bring you (and me) up to speed with the latest and greatest development, the Jaguar I-Pace.
As we are all fully aware, Jaguar’s history is steeped in performance. They are driver’s cars that bring style, grunt and even prestige to Executives and the Workers alike. They’re desirable, classy, exciting and progressive, which is why the new I-Pace makes so much sense.
Taking the learnings from the Formula-E track and the C-X75 concept car, the Jaguar I-Pace is a stylish, aerodynamic high-performance BEV (Battery EV). With a 90kWh battery that merges with the chassis, its 400PS (294kW)/696Nm powertrain boasts 470km range and delivers the outstanding handling that comes with having a low centre of gravity. 0-100km/h arrives in 4.8seconds and will nudge a top speed of 200km/h – all with zero emissions.
The I-Pace is classed as an SUV but its appearance is more ‘Coupe’. Muscular haunches, a sloping roofline and cabin-forward design makes it very easy on the eye while the spacious interior challenges SUVs with a much bigger footprint. Active air vanes on the nose aid vehicle heating and cooling plus assist in the pursuit of a low drag coefficient, while the C-X75 bonnet scoop and retractable door handles adds icing to the proverbial aerodynamic cake.
The interior has all the makings of a spacecraft, but with comfort and prestige. Touch-Pro duo touch screens house infotainment gone wild. Menu’s upon menu’s of personalisable wizardry, it’s a tech geeks haven. The digital instrument cluster in a mine of information, but don’t panic it delivers it clearly and succinctly too. Six USB ports and 4G WiFi makes the I-Pace modern and well connected but there’s also craftsmanship to the interior materials and flow.
We took the I-Pace on a country road run around the Bombay area of greater Auckland. Although it was only a short run, it gave us a taste of what this i-lectric SUV was capable of. Rapid acceleration, excellent handling (thanks to having a motor on each axle giving 50/50 weight distribution) and a really exciting driving experience – good job.
Much of the initial EV ‘history’ lesson I learnt at the NZ launch of the new Jaguar I-Pace and to me, it put a lot of things into perspective. Electric vehicles are not ‘new’ or even a ‘fad’, they are a necessary evolution and require a mindset change from gasoline-fueled brains like mine. But, losing the fossil-powered noise, scent and emotion may still be a bitter pill to swallow, thankfully, Jaguar’s new I-Pace I-lectric performance vehicle goes a long way to ease that pain.