Jag says its electric SUV will be on the road by 2018, with 220 miles of range and seating for five.

The Tesla brand has long-since transcended interest in car circles to become a general purpose purveyor of desirable things. Most of the world’s luxury brands understand this, and have been hard at work building their own machines of comeuppance. And though Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, Audi, Cadillac (and on the more plebeian scale, Chevy) have or will have some interesting electrified products as a result of that work, there hasn’t yet been a true “breakthrough” product in terms of mainstream recognition. 

Jaguar hopes to change some of that with its new I-Pace Concept, and fast-following production version. The company is tacking the problem of EV mindshare by starting with the ultra-hot crossover segment, and targeting the Model X, rather than the Model S.  

 

 Specifically, the I-Pace would seem to be leveled at the Model X P90, with a similar 90-kilowatt-hour battery pack. The floor-mounted lithium-ion battery pack is liquid-cooled, and in this concept, is said to be good for a 220-mile maximum range. That’s under the 250-mile max of the Model X, of course, but still seemingly quite useful for most drivers. 

The batteries are connected to two electric motors, one each on the front and rear axles. Combined, Jaguar estimates they’re be good for 400 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, delivered instantly to all four wheels. The resulting expected 0-60-mile-per-hour time of four seconds isn’t quite so quick as the speediest Model X, but it’s still quite rapid. 

Jaguar I-Pace Concept
Jaguar I-Pace Concept
Jaguar I-Pace Concept
Jaguar I-Pace Concept

I-Pace could seriously outperform the Tesla offering in terms of interior design.

To sum: even at the conceptual level, Jaguar hasn’t seemed to quite catch its chief rival in terms of powertrain, more than a year before launch. But not everything comes down to max range and Ludicrous Mode. 

Where I-Pace could seriously outperform the Tesla offering is in terms of interior design, refinement, and fit and finish. The interior of the concept – though far from production specification, I’m sure – seems to be a credible sneak peak in to the future. Wood, leather, and a kind of felted cloth accent this lovely, airy cabin, and all of it is on display with a truly epic-scale glass roof. Clever details like the “glove tray” and the camera-only rear view system won’t make it out of the concept car, but a slightly more practical version of this roomy five-seater interior likely will. 

Jaguar has used the space created by its flat-battery pack to good effect for storage, too. Without a Model X-esque third row, the Jag’s tailgate lifts to reveal a really massive load space with a flat floor. 

The company pulled out all the stops for the presentation of what chief designer Ian Callum called referred to as, perhaps the “most important” Jaguar since the E-Type. Rather than simply pulling the silks back on the concept, I was party to a live-stream virtual reality presentation, with members of the media in LA and London all following along. I won’t lie, being able to “sit” inside the car before I’d even taken one photo of it, was pretty next-gen.

Here’s hoping that the actual driving experience is just as compelling, when concept turns to production car in 2018. And, frankly, that Tesla keeps driving the competition to produce envelop-pushing vehicles like the I-Pace.

Source: Jaguar

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