ELECTRIC cars still have a way to go before they become truly mainstream, but they’re certainly on the road to becoming so. The latest registration figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show that more British drivers than ever before bought a pure-electric car in 2019, and at least 50 battery-powered models will be available to buy in the UK by the end of 2020.
With so much change underway, Times Luxx magazine’s motoring editor David Green thought the time was right to revisit one of the first pure-electric vehicles from a well-established premium car maker: the svelte Jaguar I-Pace electric SUV, which we crowned The Sunday Times Car of the Year in our inaugural Motor Awards, in 2018.
Though the Jaguar is no longer the fresh-faced new kid on the block, in his exclusive video Green was nevertheless pleasantly impressed with the I-Pace as he reacquainted himself with it around the streets of Tokyo. He believes the zero emission Jag “sets the benchmark for the premium all-electric sector”. Which is lofty praise indeed, considering that camp of cars now includes accomplished vehicles like the Audi e-tron, Porsche Taycan and Tesla Model 3.
The performance in particular ticks all the right boxes, according to Green. With 395bhp and 512 lb ft of torque on tap, the car is no slouch (Jaguar claims it can accelerate to 62mph from a standing start in just 4.8 seconds), with Luxx’s man saying the turn of speed makes the I-Pace “absurdly quick for what it is, which is a big SUV weighing over two tons”.
Pop the car into its sportiest Dynamic mode, and Green points out, you get a synthesised sci-fi sound effect pumped through the speakers as you speed along — though, if you’re not as entertained by the audio as he is, you can disable it and continue driving about in silence.
Slowing the Jaguar down again is no trouble at all, either, as the regenerative braking system can, in its most aggressive setting, bring the car to a stop when you ease off the throttle, letting you control the car’s speed with a single pedal.
The I-Pace also has a pretty trick cabin. Interior materials like the Alcantara fabric on the steering wheel imbue a sporty feel, which in combination with the high-tech gadgets such as the huge dual-screen infotainment display leads Green to suggest the first ever electric Jag’scabin is “probably my favourite Jaguar interior to date”.
The Biritish car maker has had a go at using the I-Pace’s all-electric architecture to maximise interior space. Because there’s no petrol or diesel engine up front, the wheels can be pushed further forward than they otherwise would have been, which means the wheelbase (the distance between the front and rear axles) is longer and room for passengers is increased.
All things considered, then, the Jaguar I-Pace remains one of the best electric cars of its type. But, with a slew of new models from premium rivals like Audi, BMW, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, Polestar, Tesla and Volvo set to arrive in the next few years, will the pure-electric Jag remain at the top for much longer? As Green concludes, “We’ll just have to wait and see.”