Because Jaguar only offers I-Pace units in Portugal, we chose to accept a paid flight and 3 nights in a hotel (two in Portugal and then in CDG because we had to wait for our return) flight) attend this event, instead of having to wait several more months to drive the vehicle.
The Jaguar I-Pace could be the most important new car we will drive this year. It is a completely new and entirely electric vehicle from the British automaker, the first installment of its ambitious plan to electrify the entire range of models in the coming years. First we saw the I-Pace as a concept at the 2016 LA Auto Show. Now, less than two years later, the production version is ready, almost unchanged.
And this week, we have driven it: by road, off the road and even on the right track. It's not perfect (there's no car), but make no mistake: it's very, very good. So good that the Waymo-Google self-management program has ordered that 20,000 I-Paces be put into service as robocabs in the coming years.
Nine months ago, Jaguar Land Rover announced that it planned to eliminate internal combustion engines, along with the offer of electrified versions of all its models by 2020. But the I-Pace, its first battery electric vehicle, predates all that. In addition to the Chevrolet Bolt EV, it is the only EV on sale that can compete with Tesla in the range thanks to a 90kWh battery. And unlike the Bolt (which is still a fairly simple matter), the I-Pace is surely a luxury car. Its exterior and interior seem to be above anything that the favorite Internet car company has given us until now.
Like any EV battery, it is still a vehicle that is not suitable for everyone. If your needs include being able to drive around the country in a single day in the shortest possible time, you may want to look elsewhere. The same if you need to carry five or six passengers. And the I-Pace is not particularly cheap: prices start at $ 69,500 in the US. UU Before federal or local incentives are taken into account. But it is better and better looking than any other BEV on sale today, with a good warranty and many gadgets. With 295kW (394hp) and 694Nm (512ft-lbs), it also has a lot of performance and does not take up much space. Its footprint is almost the same as that of the small SUV E-Pace Jaguar, although there are tons of space, regardless of whether you are sitting in the front or rear.
We're going to get under the hood (and behind the wheel) to better understand why I was so impressed.
Design and engineering
In fact, we have delved into the design aspects of the I-Pace in several occasions in the past; with Jaguar design chief Ian Callum on the original concept, and more recently with his right hand Wayne Burgess and Jaguar technical director, Wolfgang Ziebart. For Ziebart, the choice to convert the I-Pace into an SUV was not really a choice at all; the packaging requirements of the car's battery cells dictated it. But the I-Pace form was a conscious effort, with the aim of doing it as aerodynamically efficient as possible. Consequently, it has a drag coefficient (Cd) of 0.29, which Burgess told us was the lowest of any Jaguar SUV to date. We still do not know the CdA of the car (the coefficient of drag multiplied by the frontal area), which is undoubtedly the most important statistic, but we do not know the CdA for any of the other BEVs that are for sale at this time. The banking races will have to wait another day.
As with any other EV that we have tested, the I-Pace maintains its battery pack between the axles and under the passenger compartment, which keeps the center of gravity pleasant and low. reduces the polar moments of inertia. Simon Patel, senior manager of the automotive program, told Ars that this is Jaguar's stiffer body at 36kN per grade. The monocoque chassis is made of aluminum to keep the weight low, but everything indicates that the I-Pace tilts the scale to 4,702 lb (2,133 kg).
On both sides of the battery pack there is a synchronous permanent magnet electric motor. It's a compact design that sees the drive shaft pass through the middle of the engine, and is tailor-made for Jaguar. In large part, that's because the I-Pace lit up green light a long time ago. "This means that the supplier's infrastructure was not interested in this type of car, so many of the components were made in the company, today I would be tempted to do so with a supplier," Ziebart told me. In the same way, the battery and the software were also made internally by Jaguar. "This led to a lot of accumulated knowledge in our company," said Ziebart.
Each engine has a rated power of 147kW (197hp) and 350Nm (258ft-lbs), but like other dual-engine EVs, the maximum power and torque outputs are a bit lower: 295kW and 694Nm in this case. The 90kWh lithium-ion battery pack is made of bag cells with 432 of them in total. They use a nickel-manganese cobalt chemistry that is the best available, according to Patel, although he would not be attracted to the company's supplier. (However, the prominent Panasonic brand in the Jaguar Formula E could be a good gift …)
Heat management was a key concern, and there are actually three separate refrigeration systems: one for the cabin and another for the battery and a third only for the control electronics. The batteries are happiest at between 30 ° C and 40 ° C according to Patel, and on the track they can power the engines up to 1000 A, accepting up to 450 A under regenerative braking. The I-Pace will accept a fast charge of 100kW or 50kW, using the CCS plug format. The first will take you from 0 to 80 percent in 40 minutes, the latter takes 85 minutes to achieve the same. And for domestic use, the built-in 7kW charger will charge 0-80 percent in 10 hours.
According to the European WLTP cycle, the I-Pace has been rated at 400 km range. The most accurate EPA test used by EE UU It has not been completed yet, but Jaguar says he must get at least 240 miles of a full load. I have no reason to doubt this, but I am hoping to get some Jaguar data on the actual energy consumption that I and my fellow journalists experience in automobiles.
The best EV to drive?
I'll be honest with you: after my first half hour at the wheel of I-Pace, I was less than impressed. We started the first day in a $ 85,900 first-edition model in bright red, a fully charged I-Pace and equipped with massive 22-inch wheels. After a stretch of Portuguese road, our route took us through a winding but narrow route that was barely wider than the car (84.2 inches or 2.139 mm, in case you were curious). By such a narrow path, I would have been far happier in Bolt, or something much smaller and lighter like my beloved Ford Ka died (sold when I moved to the United States in 2002).
But later, when we were heading to the Hippodrome of Portimao, the road opened up to the point that a white dashed line was painted in the center and things started to gel. The power delivery, as with any EV, is instantaneous, and I have no reason to doubt the appointment of 4.5 seconds 0-60 mph. The maximum speed is 124 mph (200 km / h), but we do not approach the road but we do get closer later.
The second day we saw that we changed cars, this time with slightly cheaper HSE versions ($ 80,500). These had smaller wheels, if you can describe 20-inch wheels as such, and were much more suitable for the I-Pace. Much of the roar of the tires was eliminated, and there was a noticeable improvement in driving quality and directional feel. Take it off: the 22 may look fresher, but if you're specifying an I-Pace, you really want the little ones.
As with any other EV that we have tried, you can change the regenerative braking of the I-Pace setting between high and low. Configured in high, you can really drive it alone with the accelerator pedal, since it will decelerate vigorously when you raise your foot (in fact, up to 0.4G). On the contrary, the Nissan Leaf will regenerate at a speed of up to 0.2G, which is more than any other EV with which we try to exit. Like the Blade, the Jaguar will stop completely if you take your foot off the accelerator and the brake lights are illuminated once you start slowing down to more than 0.12G, which should prevent a tailgater from slowing you from behind .
But, as any EV driver will tell you, High Regen is best suited for low-speed urban driving; At highway speeds, you want to be able to face the coast instead of constantly keeping your foot on the accelerator. This exposed my biggest complaint about the I-Pace: the change between the two modes was not as easy as it should be. A Bolt, Volt or Leaf gives you physical control to switch between these modes, using a gear selector in the case of GM cars and a button in the case of Nissan. In fact, originally the I-Pace also used a physical button according to Patel.
But at some point the decision was made to bury the adjustment under several layers of menus, which are accessed through the information and entertainment screen. That's not something you want to do when you drive, and it's not even the simplest task for the copilot's truth. Patel told Ars that the UI of the production car will make it much easier to access this configuration. But if you're reading this, Jaguar, you should do it as simply as possible, please. A physical button may not work at this point, but it should be a configuration on the home screen.
As you will have taken from the photos above, our time with the I-Pace involved a bit more than the first usual units we go to. At various points along the route, Jaguar diverted us to less conventional terrain. On the second day, there were several kilometers on unpaved roads, which the I-Pace with all-wheel drive took on its way. With so much power and more than enough torque, it was very tempting to drive the Jag sideways at each corner, but respect for my passenger meant that he kept things a little sensible.
The previous day was a much more extreme test, which required us to leave the road completely behind, including the negotiation of some extremely steep slopes and a current. Things really off the road happened the first day in red cars, and despite the low profile summer tires, the electric cat behaved like a real cat, doing everything we asked for and more. The odds of an I-Pace owner getting to drive a 1-by-2 dirt road seem very remote, but if the need ever arises, it's comforting to know that this SUV should be able to cope.
I will. admit it, I'm not really a fan of all terrain, but the race track really is my happy place. What made me happy that our next stop was the circuit Autódromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimao. Fans of The Grand Tour will know that this is the place where Clarkson, May and Hammond hit those hypercars, and now that I have covered it myself I have a new respect for that episode. It is a technical and complicated circuit of 4.2 km, with many elevation changes and blind crests that require some commitment.
Driving a car down the track allows you to explore the limits of your driving in ways that are simply not safe or responsible on public roads. After a couple of laps of sighting in an F-Type, we switched to the I-Pace, who once again absolved himself with aplomb. The performance of the track braking was admirable for such a heavy car, and around the last long right sweeper on the track I was able to pass the grip of the car and cause a bit of a four-wheel deviation. I am the first to admit that I am not a God of driving, but I am comfortable in saying that the I-Pace has a very neutral chassis balance, which becomes slight understeer in the limit.