Jaguar I-Pace Concept: Stunning ZEV SUV expected in 2018
UPDATE: You can now read our first review of the 2019 Jaguar I-Pace
Revealed in a dramatic virtual reality presentation on the eve of the Los Angeles Auto Show, the Jaguar I-Pace Concept is the precursor of an all-new, all-electric midsize performance SUV set for production late next year for a 2018 launch. As might be expected, Jag’s first-ever foray into the EV realm is a stunning piece of design work.
According to Jaguar’s Director of Design, Ian Callum, the I-Pace Concept is a radical vision of tomorrow that represents the next generation of battery electric vehicle. By switching over to pure EV power and eliminating the packaging required with an internal combustion engine and transmission, Callum was able to literally ignore conventional design parameters. This led to a new architecture that optimizes performance and aerodynamics while enhancing usable space for five passengers and their belongings.
Melding design themes introduced on the sleek but stillborn mid-engine C-X75 supercar, which featured a flowing roofline, rising beltline and classic Jaguar fender contours, the I-Pace has a similar cab-forward design and a tidy 0.29 coefficient of drag. Riding on 117.7-inch wheelbase, the car’s short overhangs are offset by huge 23-inch Nighthawk wheels wrapped in custom 265/35 rubber and aerodynamic side skirts that limit turbulence. Other flourishes include full LED lighting, flush door handles that extend only when needed, a full-length panoramic glass roof with its own array of embedded LEDs and a functional composite rear spoiler and lower diffuser.
The clean, minimalist cabin of the I-Pace Concept mixes contemporary flair with classic elegance including Windsor leather, Alcantara and unvarnished open-pore walnut. The EV configuration permits a low, “Sports Command” driving position and space-optimizing flat floor and reflects a mix of current and coming Jag interior cues. The latter include a new 3-spoke multifunction steering wheel with capacitive-touch haptic switches and a center console with under-panel storage, both of which are being prepared for production. The main instrument cluster in the I-Pace is a 12.0-inch configurable TFT display with a separate full-color head-up display. A second 12.0-inch TFT in the center of the dash controls the infotainment/navigation functions and sits above dual 5.5-inch screens that handle climate control duties. While the I-Pace’s well-formed front buckets are the best seats in the house, even those in the aft quarters enjoy a generous level of head and legroom. The 18.7-cu ft rear cargo bay is supplemented by an additional 1.0-liter space under the hood.
0-60 mph in 4.0 seconds and a 220-mile range
Underpinning the I-Pace Concept is an all-new architecture that integrates a state-of-the-art EV powertrain with Jaguar’s best conventional chassis thinking. The former involves fitting a synchronous permanent-magnet electric motor at each axle that develops 395 SAE horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. According to Jag, that’s sufficient muscle to send the I-Pace Concept from 0-60 mph in about 4.0 seconds. Each is energized by a 90kWh liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack, which, like the motors, was designed by JLR. Mounted low in the subfloor and housed in an aluminium case, the pack helps lower the car’s center of gravity and improve its dynamic responsiveness. It holds enough energy to give the I-Pace Concept a per-charge range in excess of 220 miles. Jag says it can be replenished to an 80-percent level in 90 minutes and make it to 100 percent in a little over two hours using a Level III 50kW DC charger.
The I-Pace Concept uses the advanced double-wishbone front suspension from Jaguar’s F-Type sportscars and the F-Pace SUV paired with the space-efficient rear Integral Link system found in the XE and XF Sedans. According to JLR’s Chief Engineer of Vehicle Integrity, Mike Cross, the driving experience is “true Jaguar” and it will ultimately lead to “the first electric vehicle developed for enthusiasts who love driving."
The world will have to wait until this time next year to see exactly how much of the I-Pace Concept makes it into production form. But Ian Callum contends the vehicle will “open a new chapter in the history of our legendary brand.”
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