THE PROS & CONS
- What’s best: The I-Pace goes anywhere, at any speed and with zero emissions.
- What’s worst: Price, but look what you’re getting.
- What’s interesting: The 90 kWh lithium-ion battery has enough juice to charge 9,000 cellphones.
LAGOS, Portugal: You’d probably never think about taking an all-electric vehicle off-roading, but you can do that and more in the 2019 Jaguar I-Pace.
There I was, after driving through a stream, heading straight up a 30 per cent plus grade earthen and stone-strewn path and on high performance 22-inch summer tires, no less.
This was accomplished using Jaguar’s All-Surface Progress Control (ASPC). And that’s just what it is — it will take you up, down and across anything.
Set the speed (usually less than 15 km/h) and the ASPC “sees” what’s ahead and then automatically moves forward and all you have to do is steer —— letting the system deal with braking and accelerating.
Come to a steep rise in the road and the ASPC slows down a bit, calculates what’s needed to go proceed and puts all the data it has collected into play and off you go.
Helping make this possible is standard four-wheel air suspension. It can be raised 55 mm at the touch of a button. With that and the ASPC activated, you can go just about anywhere a Range Rover can, and semi-autonomously.
Propulsion is based on two, in-house Jaguar designed synchronous permanent magnet motors with a single-speed transmission. There is a motor on each axle, resulting in permanent all-wheel-drive.
A massive 90 kWh lithium-ion battery pack made up of 432 cells sits under the floor of the cabin and produces 394 hp and a whopping 512 lb/ft of power, giving a range of 386 km under normal driving conditions.
Delivered with a wall socket charger with a five metre cord, the battery can be charged from 0-80 per cent in 40 minutes when using a 100 kW DC fast charger.
The I-Pace is one of the very first vehicles to offer one-pedal driving which, in my opinion, is the future of driving.
There is a pedal on the right, but it acts like a giant rheostat in that the more you press down, the faster the I-Pace goes. But — and it’s a big but — when you lift the pedal, regenerative braking kicks in and hauls down the speed of the I-Pace very, very swiftly.
I first experienced this on the Nissan Leaf EV earlier this year, but the system on the I-Pace is more assertive as befits a vehicle that has a 0-100 km acceleration time of 4.8 seconds and a top speed of 124 mph
By modulating the pedal you can hold any pace. But when there is a curve or bend in the road, you lift and the I-Pace slows. After a very short time you learn just how much to lift and/or anticipate distances and brake accordingly to come to a full stop.
There is a brake pedal in the usual spot, if needed. FYI every time you lift, the brake lights come on to alert the driver behind you.
It took maybe 10 km to get accustomed to it, after which it became second nature and, believe it or not, enjoyable.
On some very twisty Portuguese roads peppered with blind bends, I drove without ever touching the brake.
Portugal is also the land of roundabouts. Cruising up to one and gliding through was simpler than the two-pedal braking and accelerating we are used to.
The I-Pace uses Artificial Intelligence to collect data on weather, topography, driving style, climate settings and traffic conditions.
From this, it “learns” from the driver and can autonomously adjust preferences such as seat position, climate control and radio settings at different times of the day and even remind the driver if he/she has forgotten a smartphone.
But wait, there’s more.
The I-Pace is fitted with Alexa through the Jaguar InControl app, where you can ask things like is the I-Pace is locked or how much range is left in the battery.
The I-Pace can also talk to your home and can control lights, locks and heating/air conditioning through the Jaguar HomeLink Connect system found on the centre touchscreen.
Just to make sure you’re connected, there are three, 12-volt sockets and six USB ports.
Lastly there is a full-length sunroof curiously without a sunshade. That’s because its not needed, as the glass panel absorbs infrared UV light which, in turn, keeps the cabin cooler with the added benefit of more headroom.
On the highway, there’s near silence, except for the whirr coming from the electric motors.
Because the suspension is self-levelling, irregularities are soaked up for the most part.
The aforementioned regenerative braking has a high and low setting, with the high making one pedal driving possible, and I can’t see any real need for low.
At highway speeds, the suspension automatically lowers the I-Pace 10 mm, which along with the low centre of gravity caused by the battery makes it more stable.
Come up to an off-ramp and lift and the regen kicks in with a force of up to 0.4G so you don’t have to touch the brake pedal.
At the end of a full day of driving, using regen to the max, I still had 57 per cent battery charge remaining.
With one-pedal driving capability and a usable range of 386 km, what Jaguar has done is create a whole new segment – the compact electric crossover, a segment where it has no competition.
Now that’s what I call setting the cat among the birds.
2019 Jaguar I-Pace
BODY STYLE: Five-seat, compact electric vehicle (EV).
DRIVE METHOD: Single-drive transmission, permanent all-wheel-drive
PROPULSION: Twin synchronous electric motors (394 hp, 512 ft/lb combined); 90 kWh lithium-ion battery pack
FUEL ECONOMY: Electric equivalent being determined
CARGO: 638 litres behind second row seats; 1,445 litres folded
TOW RATING: N/A
CURB WEIGHT: 4,784 lb
BATTERY WARRANTY: Eight years, 160,000 km with 70 per cent state of health
PRICE: S, $86,500; SE, $92,500; HSE, $96,500; LE First Edition, $103,500
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