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Driving The Jaguar I-PACE

by Ron CoganJune 25, 2019
We all knew that Tesla wouldn’t remain the sole player in the luxury electric car game. But how do you complete with the popular Model S and Model X? Jaguar has that figured out with its aggressively stylish, high-performing E-PACE.

Jaguar’s first electric vehicle, the I-PACE offers a pleasing and aggressive design, luxury appointments, and exceptional driving characteristics. Part of Jaguar’s PACE family of vehicles along with the gasoline-powered E-PACE and F-PACE, the electric I-PACE blazes its own trails with great acceleration and handling on purely battery power, something it proved time after time in Green Car Journal’s drives on interstates, in the city, and on twisty canyon roads.

The I-PACE is is available in three trim levels, S, SE and HSE, starting at $69,500. Besides being Jaguar Land Rover’s first all-electric vehicle, it is also the first one that can receive over-the-air system software updates as new capabilities become available.

I-PACE is powered by two identical 197 horsepower electric motors that produce a total of 394 horsepower and 512 lb-ft torque. One motor drives the front wheels while the other powers the rear, resulting in all-wheel-drive. It can also operate on a single motor for more efficient two-wheel drive motoring when appropriate. Acceleration from 0-to-60 mph is a claimed 4.5 seconds, a performance characteristic we enjoyed throughout our drives.

This Jaguar electric SUV is essentially equal to its all-electric competitors when it comes to range between charges at 234 miles. Electrical energy is stored in a 90 kilowatt-hour, underfloor battery pack consisting of 432 high-energy density lithium-ion pouch cells. The battery pack's location provides a low center of gravity that enhances driving dynamics.

The I-PACE has an aluminum body like other current Jaguar Land Rover vehicles. In this case the underfloor battery pack housing is used as a structural component, which provides I-PACE the greatest torsional stiffness of any model in Jaguar Land Rover’s lineup. The battery pack can be charged to 80 percent capacity in 40 minutes from a 100 kW source or in 85 minutes with a 50 kW charger.

Because there is no engine up front, the base of the windshield has been moved forward compared to the E-PACE and F-PACE to provide more interior space. Thus, while being similar in dimensions to its conventionally-powered siblings, it has a roomier interior. While a battery electric vehicle, it retains the appearance of an internal combustion model. For instance, there’s a radiator behind the front grille for the battery's liquid-coolant system. The grille also directs airflow through the hood scoop to reduce drag, and active vanes in the grille and front bumper can close to further improve aerodynamics when battery cooling and the climate-control system aren’t needed. Other aerodynamic features include powered hideaway door handles. Air springs are standard and can lower the car by as much as 0.4 inches at highway speeds to further reduce drag.

Torque Vectoring by Braking gives the I-PACE sports car-like agility. Controlled independent braking on the individual inside front and rear wheels adds to the turning forces acting on the car. Under most conditions, more braking pressure is applied to the rear inside wheel as this best supports increased cornering capability, while the front inside wheel is braked for greater effectiveness and refinement. Adaptive Surface Response constantly monitors the car's driving environment and adjusts appropriate motor and brake settings.

The I-PACE offers a wide array of driver assist  and connectivity features that vary with trim level. The Park Package includes Park Assist, 360-degree Parking Aid, and Rear Traffic Monitor. A Drive Package provides Blind Spot Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go, and High-Speed Emergency Braking. Connectivity features include Remote, Navigation Pro, Connect Pro, 4G Wi-Fi Hotspot), and Stolen Vehicle Locator.