November 16, 2016 @ 04:38 PM

Jaguar's First-ever electric car to arrive in 2018

Jaguar have etched their first electric vehicle, the SUV I-PACE, into the public's eye via a remarkable virtual reality experience.


Not only is the I-PACE Jaguar's first electric vehicle, the unique Virtual Reality reveal was a world-first as well. Jaguar joined forces with VR leaders HTC, Computer experts Dell and Creative agencies ReWind and Imagination to create the world’s largest, global, connected VR experience. VR hubs gave guests the opportunity to be transported into a virtual Jaguar I-PACE. The hubs in Los Angeles and London were also graced by the presence of Hollywood stars Michelle Rodriguez, Miranda Kerr and James Corden. 


“Our virtual reality reveal today has pushed technology boundaries as well, and captures the hi-tech essence of the concept car. We only have one concept car and it is in LA for the reveal. For the first time, VR has allowed us share it across the globe in the most immersive way possible.” Said Ian Callum, Director of Design. 


The VR experience gave guests the chance to check out the futuristic and quintessentially British interior of the I-PACE. Thanks to the lack of the engine up front, the vehicle is more spacious than the exterior design suggests and far more than other SUV's of similar dimensions. 


The front seats are positioned further forward so there is more legroom for the rear row and a commodious 530-litre boot space at the rear with a further 28-litres where the engine should be. Without having the need to accommodate a transmission tunnel, an extra 8-litre stowage area is available within the centre console. If anything, the I-PACE's space rivals those found in luxury saloons and full-size SUV's. 


Rather than an old fashioned gear lever, drive modes are selected from a series of buttons integrated into a 'looping' metal strut that crosses the centre console. Front occupants sit in windsor leather seats with contrasting twin needle stitching set on coloured carbon fibre trim, while rear passengers lay back on seats finished in Moonstone Alcantara. 


Jaguar's lozenge motif can be found all around the interior, one of those places is on the audio speaker grills that have a jewel-like 3D relief. The I-PACE treats its occupants to an open view to the sky with a full-length panoramic glass roof that appears to extend off the windscreen and integrate seamlessly with the interior. The party piece comes on at night where an array of LEDs embedded in the roof illuminate the glass to create a stunning effect. 


Traditional dials and instruments are replaced by a 'flightdeck' control interface. Primary interface is a 12-inch TFT touchscreen that sits on the instrument panel with a smaller 5.5-inch panel to control the state of the art InControl Touch Pro infotainment system and climate. The driver need not take his vision off the road with the head-up display relaying necessary information.  


Despite calling it an SUV, the I-PACE looks more like a raised and elongated version of Jaguar's C-X75 concept sports car, probably because Jaguar admit taking inspiration from it. The low bonnet, curved fenders and aggressive rear quarter give an aura of performance to the electric SUV. The coupe-like roofline comes together very well with the 23-inch Nighthawk wheels giving the car the presence it deserves. One look and you would be forgiven to mistake it for a V8 powered monster. 


In the pursuit of efficiency and range, Jaguar designed the I-PACE to be as aerodynamic as possible. The C-X75 derived bonnet helps with airflow, as does the fast-angles slope rear window, rear vents in place of exhaust exits and the rear diffuser. Even little details such as flushed door handles that only slide out when activated and side skirts designed to channel air around the wheels are all present to make sure the I-PACE cuts a clean path through the air. 


Jaguar isn't beating around the bush with the I-PACE. They've blatantly said that what they have created is an electric five seat sports car that has the practicality of an SUV. A bold claim that deserves to be commended. 


The electric SUV puts power to the ground from all four of its 265 wide tyres that are powered by two electric motors. One for the front and another for the rear axle. The combined output is 395bhp and 700Nm delivered through a single-speed epicyclic transmission, taking you from zero to 100kph in a silent but blistering four seconds. Mind you, that is supercar territory performance. 


Electric vehicles always have weight issues, so Jaguar have been smart to manage it and placed the batteries between the axles and underneath the floor. Thus keeping the chassis balanced and with a low centre of gravity. Front Suspension is a double wishbone affair lifted off of the F-Type and F-Pace while the rear is Integral Link taken from the XE, XF and F-pace. This unique combination sticks to Jaguars goal of providing a balanced ride with confident handling.  


500km of range is all the I-PACE can give, so don't attempt any cross country holidays. That being said, it only takes over 2 hours to have the batteries topped up from empty by using a common 50KW DC charging network, a wall box or a conventional domestic power socket.


These electronic features are courtesy of 36 in-house developed liquid-cooled 90kWh lithium ion batteries. The battery pack takes care of itself by relying on the radiator to remove the heat generated by the cells at times even resorting to an air conditioning system to keep it cool, hence improving efficiency and longevity. 


“As the charging infrastructure continues to develop globally – and with enough range to mean most people would only need to charge once a week – cars like the I-PACE Concept will make drivers appreciate that an EV can be rewarding and practical enough to drive every day.” Said Ian Hoban, Vehicle Line Director, Jaguar Land Rover.


Jaguar is proud to have carried forward what electric motoring experience they have gained from their success in the Le Mans 24 Hours endurance race. Participation in the Formula E allows the company to compete and continuously develop more powerful and efficient electric motors.


Dr Wolfgang Ziebart, Jaguar Land Rover, said: "This is an uncompromised electric vehicle designed from a clean sheet of paper: we’ve developed a new architecture and selected only the best technology available. The I-PACE Concept fully exploits the potential EVs can offer in space utilisation, driving pleasure and performance."


Most importantly, the I-PACE isn't just a mere concept, the UK based car maker has  confirmed that production models will hit the roads in 2018 while an official unveiling will take place somewhere next year.  If you've already set your mind on getting the I-PACE then you can register for one right now at Jaguar.com and be the first few to have own the pouncing cat's electric SUV. 

Y.Dharmeswaran

 

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