So far I have not been all that charged-up about electric cars. I have driven quite a few —some are better than others, some offer better range than others — but unless you live and work in the same area, there are concerns. Pricing is also an issue, and that is unlikely to change with the new Jaguar I-Pace, which Wanted drove in Portugal.
What has changed, though, is that we are excited, very excited, because the I-Pace ticks boxes that no other electric vehicle (EV) has so far. It looks superb, managing to feature some Jaguar design DNA in a brand-new overall look without appearing as if it were designed as an EV. It’s a Jaguar first and an EV second. As an SUV it is also a very capable Jag — we drove it on smooth roads, bumpy roads, gravel roads, and then off-road. We drove it through a river and over rocky and dusty hillsides. And then we drove it on the Portimão race circuit. It was brilliant everywhere — and that came as a huge shock to us.
The I-Pace is arriving in South Africa in 2019, and features 32 lithium-ion modules producing 294kW and 696Nm of torque through two electric motors, one on each axle to give it all-wheel drive. With instant acceleration, non-stop power, and loads of grip, it is as dynamic on the road as it is reasonably capable off it. With wheel sizes up to 22 inches, the ride is comfortable, if a bit firm sometimes, and the interior has more space than any other EV we have driven so far. It also has lots of connectivity, and you can do some set-up through an app.
Jaguar South Africa says it will be establishing a fast charger network in major centres around the country ahead of the launch, but range will still be an issue for some owners. However, it has the best range of any vehicle we have yet driven, with a claimed 480km distance on a single charge, although our real-world driving reduced that to about 300km.
Is the I-Pace the EV everyone has been waiting for? Definitely in our opinion, but only if Jag can get the pricing right for South Africa.