Jaguar I-PACE stalks Tesla Model X
Jaguar on Thursday introduced its long-awaited, all-electric I-PACE Tesla fighter. The I-PACE is the first SUV to take on the falcon-winged Tesla Model X which pioneered the premium EV crossover segment in 2015.
Like the Tesla Model X and its sister Model S sedan, the I-PACE is built on a unique “skateboard”-style chassis with a large 90 kWh battery pack in the floor. The low battery-pack position allows for increased interior room as well as a low center of gravity for the higher-riding SUV.
The silent-running, 240-mile range EV will be a stark departure from the British cat brand built on growly sports cars like the V-8 F-Type coupe.
The Jaguar is at the front of a herd of premium EVs due to hit the market in the next few years as automakers try to replicate Tesla’s success – as well as conform to global governments’ push to phase out the gas engine.
Volvo will introduce the coupe flagship of its new Polestar EV brand in Geneva this month. The Audi eTron is expected late this year followed by the Porsche Mission E, Mercedes EQC and Buick EV in 2019. By 2022 luxury and mainstream brands are expected to flood dealers with 100 new EVs with ranges in excess of 200 miles.
The I-PACE was introduced at Jaguar-Land Rover’s manufacturing facility in Graz, Austria in a webcast hosted by British comedian Jack Whitehall. Jaguar is owned by India’s Tata Motors. The I-PACE is expected to be unveiled in the U.S. for the first time at the New York Auto Show later this month. It will make its international public debut in Geneva on March 6.
“We set out with a clean-sheet approach to harness new battery-electric technology with an architecture engineered from the outset to optimize EV performance, aerodynamics and interior space,’ said Jaguar Vehicle Line Director Ian Hoban.
Building on a Jaguar reputation forged in sports car racing, the all-wheel drive I-PACE promises quick 4.5-second acceleration from zero-60 mph. That number would upstage the comparable all-wheel drive Model X 100D which dashes to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds. The I-PACE’s electric range is more in line with the base 75 kWh Model X’s 237 miles.
Jaguar will release pricing in Geneva. The 295-mile range Model X 100D starts at $102,000 and the 75 kWh model starts at $85,500.
The Jaguar will boast a 50-50 weight balance, and promises that its big battery can be 80-percent charged in 40 minutes using a public 100kW DC charger. A similar charge on a home-based, 240-volt socket would take just over 10 hours, says Jaguar. There are currently about a dozen public DC charging facilities in Metro Detroit. Tesla has a proprietary network of fast chargers.
To promote its I-PACE’s performance claims, Jaguar will sponsor the world’s first EV racing series based on production vehicles. Dubbed the I-PACE eTrophy, it will feature 20 race-prepared SUVs competing in 10 international races beginning in 2019.
Henry Payne is auto critic for The Detroit News. Find him at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @HenryEPayne. Catch “Car Radio with Henry Payne” from noon-1 p.m. Saturdays on 910 AM Superstation.