Could an I-Pace SVR be first?
Electrification isn’t only about saving the planet. At Jaguar’s Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) performance group, engineers are already looking into how to make even higher-performing versions of new EVs. John Edwards, managing director of SVO, told Motoring that the company is excited to explore the possibilities of electric performance models – but that doing so would not be simple.
“It’s definitely a different challenge, but I actually look at it as an opportunity and our engineers love having a problem,” Edwards told Motoring. “The rules of performance vehicles in a traditional [internal combustion-powered] market are very established and we react to those established rules. With electric vehicles, the rules aren’t established at all, so I think it gives us different opportunities.”
Perhaps the most logical expectation is an SVO-tweaked version of the Jaguar I-Pace electric crossover. While Edwards wouldn’t confirm to Motoring that his team is working on an I-Pace SVR, he at least didn’t deny it: “Of course I would like to see it, but I have no shortage of crazy ideas I’d like to happen.”
Of course, there is already precedence for a sportier I-Pace given that a track-focused version of the EV is going racing later this year. Twenty racing models of the Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy SV are set to head to 10 different race circuits as a support series for Formula E. The model, pictured below, is built by SVO and has a unique body kit and race-specific chassis and safety tweaks. Jaguar also currently races the I-Type all-electric car in Formula E, under the banner of Panasonic Jaguar Racing.
Jaguar Land Rover has said that it will launch one new SVR model every year through 2020, so there’s definitely potential for more vehicles. Current Jaguar SVO models include the XE SV Project 8 and F-Type SVR. The production 2019 Jaguar I-Pace goes on sale in the U.S. toward the end of this year with a base price of $70,495 before any applicable incentives.