Jaguar has revealed the I-Pace, its first ever electric car. To be shown off at the Los Angeles motor show this week, the vehicle is a concept for now but Jaguar says a production version will go on sale in 2018.
The car promises to blend sports car performance with the space and practicality of a sports utility vehicle. A 90kWh battery pack sends power to all four wheels via an electric motor on each axle; Jaguar claims the I-Pace produces almost 400 horsepower and can reach 60mph in "around four seconds". Range is a claimed 500km (310 miles).
Jaguar says the lithium-ion battery pack and motors were designed in-house, rather than by an outside company. Although the car will of course be compatible with public charging stations, Jaguar says even plugging the I-Pace into a regular wall socket overnight will provide enough charge for the average daily commute of 50km. A full recharge on a high-speed public charger takes two hours.
Taking design influences from Jaguar's first SUV, the F-Pace, the new I-Pace is shorter and narrower, but with a longer wheelbase to help create a more aggressive stance. This is exaggerated further by high front and rear wheel arches, a steeply raked rear windscreen and a blunt rear end. The look is finished with F-Type-style rear lights and the traditional Jaguar nose and grille. Jaguar says the cab-forward design was inspired by the company's C-X75 supercar concept, which starred in the James Bond film Spectre.
A rear diffuser and slim wing mirrors help give the I-Pace a drag coefficient of 0.29, only slightly down on Jaguar's low-slung sports car, the F-Type.
At 700 newton meters, the I-Pace's torque is the same as the F-Types SVR, the fastest car Jaguar currently sells.
Five slimline seats help to eek out space from the interior, which Jaguar says offers more room for passengers and bags than cars in the segment above, while taking up less road space than conventional mid-size SUVs like its sister, the F-Pace and the Porsche Macan. A large panorama roof floods the cabin with light just as it does on the F-Pace; a pattern cut into the glass is filled with LEDs which can be illuminated at night.
The dashboard includes two large touch screens (12in and 5in), as well as capacitive switches and tactile analogue controls. A second 12in display sits behind the steering wheel and replaces conventional analogue dials; above this, a colour head-up display is projected onto the windscreen.
But while offering the space and practicality of an SUV, Jaguar's focus with the I-Pace is also on performance. As a result, the car employs a "sports command" driving position to help provide the driver with "a sports car-like sense of connection with the road". By placing the heavy battery pack in the floor, just as Tesla does, the I-Pace's centre of gravity is low, aiding corning and stability, and reducing roll.
Jaguar is pitching the I-Pace at a sector of the market soon to be occupied by the Tesla Model Y, a mid-size SUV which is built on the chassis of the Model 3 and has been teased by boss Elon Musk. With the Model 3 due in 2017, the Model Y could arrive during the second half of 2018, the same year as the Jaguar.
Ian Callum, director of design at Jaguar, said: "The I-Pace Concept represents the next generation of electric vehicle design. It's a dramatic, future-facing cab-forward design with a beautiful interior – the product of authentic Jaguar DNA, electric technology and contemporary craftsmanship.
"This isn't just a concept. It is a preview of a five-seat production car that will be on the road in 2018. This will be Jaguar's first-ever battery-powered electric vehicle and opens a new chapter in the history of our legendary brand."
The car, of which there is only one, was revealed globally today through a virtual reality experience which Callum described as "the most immersive way possible" to show it off to a worldwide audience, not just those in LA to see it in the metal.
Potential owners can show their interest in buying the car in 2018 by registering on Jaguar's website today.