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Culture / Cars

Jaguar Challenges Tesla?

Believe It, the Electric Car Race Speeds Up

BY Jim Shi // 11.22.16

Jaguar — at the forefront of electric mobility? It would appear that way, as the British luxury automaker has dove headfirst into the sector of luxury vehicles dominated by the likes of Tesla and BMW. In less than a handful of years, Jaguar has unveiled its second SUV — the I-Pace EV Crossover Concept — which also happens to be its first electric car.

The I-Pace seen here, which debuted on the eve of the Los Angeles Auto Show, is technically pure concept (a “production preview”), but Jaguar promises a street-ready version will go on sale in 2018.

“This isn’t just a concept,” Jaguar design director Ian Callum tells Car and Driver. “It is a preview of a five-seat production car that will be on the road in 2018.”

Aimed squarely at the Tesla Model X, the compact crossover is smaller than Jaguar’s current F-Pace, sized about the same as a Porsche Macan. Like the pricy Model X, which has a monopoly on the electric SUV market, the I-Pace features electric motors both front and rear with an underfloor, liquid-cooled battery pack nestled in between.

In other words, the I-Pace is a near production-ready car that isn’t just an F-Pace with electric motors. Skeptics may raise an eyebrow, but the I-Pace boasts genuinely impressive innovations. Jaguar designed the battery pack and electric motors in-house, as opposed to outsourcing them. Specifically, the battery is comprised of 36 pouch-style lithium ion cells that can store 90 kWh of electricity, while the motors can generate a combined 400 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque.

Also impressive, the aluminum battery pack housing is part of the chassis structure, much like the engine of a Ferrari F50. This increases structural rigidity, which will help handling and ride comfort. It rides on an adjustable air suspension system.

The I-Pace will also benefit from significant regenerative braking, allowing for the one-pedal driving just like the Tesla. The regen  braking can be adjusted via a “D” button on the center console.

What’s more, Jaguar is able to employ the same All Surface Progress Control and Adaptive Surface Response as the F-Pace. Both off-road software was borrowed from sister company Land Rover and they help the F-Pace be a genuinely good off-roading SUV.

At first glance, one can’t help but notice how gorgeous it is. With styling inspired by the C-X75 concept, the I-Pace boasts a sleek, cab-forward design with a long wheelbase that maximizes interior space. And, yes, that supercar’s floating, flow-through hood panel is included. Inside, the I-Pace has a futuristic and special looking cabin. It’s open, airy and packed with technology.

Most importantly, Jaguar is promising an estimated range of 220 miles per charge and 0-60 mph acceleration in around four seconds. A full recharge can be achieved in two hours on a 50-kW fast charger, while the battery can be replenished to 80 percent in approximately 90 minutes. The range is slightly less than a Model X 75D, but the performance is better, and the Model X has access to Tesla’s 120 kW Supercharger network, which can deliver 170 miles of charge in just 30 minutes.

Pricing for the I-Pace has not been announced, but will likely be around 10 to 15 percent more than a comparably equipped F-Pace, which should put it in the $70,000 range. Taking a page from Tesla’s playbook, Jaguar is currently accepting pre-orders and deposits for the I-Pace.

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