The Jaguar I-PACE made history earlier this year when it was announced as the 2020 Autotrader South African Car of the Year – the first EV to win the title. It also scooped the 2019 World Car of the Year, World Green Car and World Car Design awards, as well as the 2019 Golden Steering Wheel in Germany, ahead of the Audi Q3 and Seat Tarraco.
The I-PACE is Jaguar’s first all-electric SUV and an attractive one at that. With a 470km range, it’s also an EV that will easily cover the distances most people need to travel for their daily commute and driving needs. Given the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on our way of life, people are travelling less and working from home more, anyway. Another post-corona benefit of the I-PACE is that you can refuel at home, too.
But when you do need to travel further than your usual local spots, Jaguar has invested R30 million in developing its Powerway – a network of charging stations being rolled out in customer parking areas at every Jaguar and Land Rover retailer in South Africa, as well as along frequent long-distance holiday routes and at convenient spots such as shopping centres in the country’s main metropolitan areas.
The performance is not shabby either – it does 0-100km/h in just 4.8 seconds. The car has also been designed to be supremely quiet. While EVs are generally quiet, exterior noise has been reduced even more thanks to the acoustic lamination on the front windows.
How it works
The I-PACE has two compact electric motors – one on each axle, delivering 147kW and 348Nm of torque a piece – to deliver permanent all-wheel drive. That gives it a total output of 294kW and 696N. Electricity can be supplied to the car in AC or DC format. For charging the car, the I-PACE has an on-board charger that converts the electricity to DC. Instead of a fuel tank, the I-PACE has a 90kWh lithium-ion battery. The vehicle’s inverter converts the direct current (DC) energy stored in the battery pack into alternating current (AC) energy to feed the motor.
When you’re charging the I-PACE at home, you can set a departure time and what Jaguar calls a “preconditioning schedule” from the car’s on-board touch screen so the car can “prime itself for the journey ahead”. This warms the battery to its ideal temperature to help. Jaguar suggests doing this for any trip that’s longer than 80km.
The timed charging function means you can set specific charging times via the vehicle’s touchscreen or the Jaguar smartphone app.
Jaguar says that while electricity costs vary depending on the region in South Africa, an average of R2 per kW/h is a good rule of thumb. The company estimates that to fully charge the I-PACE from zero to full would therefore only cost about R180. Using these figures, the costs of driving an I-PACE come out at roughly 38 cents per kilometre when charged at home.
To charge at home, you can have an approved Jaguar wall box charger installed, which will fully recharge the battery in about 12 hours, although it’s likely not often that the vehicle will need a full recharge from 0%. The I-PACE also comes with an occasional use charging cable that fits a domestic three-prong plug socket but expect this method to take a bit longer.
The timed charging function means you can set specific charging times via the vehicle’s touchscreen or the Jaguar smartphone app, which means you can set the car to charge during preferred times of the day, and even use mains power to condition batteries and cabin temperatures ahead of planned journeys.
The charging stations on the Powerway are made for faster charging. A 60kW rapid charger, which is the most prominent along the Powerway, can deliver up to 100km of range every 20 minutes and charge an I-PACE battery from 0-80% in just over an hour. The I-PACE is equipped to accept up to a 100kW DC charge rate, which enables 0-80% charge rates in less than 40 minutes.
Tip top tech
You’d expect an EV to be packed with the latest technology and you’d be right. Inside the car, the I-PACE’s InControl technologies learn your settings preferences. Smartphone Pack allows you to use selective apps on the touchscreen and Remote lets you securely interact with your I-PACE directly from your smartphone.
The I-PACE’s remote cabin climate feature let’s you pre-heat the car before you get into it!
The infotainment system has a 10″ touchscreen integrated into the dashboard and a lower 5″ touchscreen with multi-function dynamic dials. There’s also a high-definition interactive driver display and the 4G Wi-Fi Hotspot and navigation system come standard.
On the driving front, the low traction launch function improves capability in slippery driving conditions and remains active until the car reaches 30km/h. Adaptable driving settings are accessible through the Dynamic Mode, allowing you to personalise your preferred combination of throttle sensitivity, steering weighting or damper stiffness.
The active suspension lowers the car by 10mm when you reach speeds of 105km/h over extended periods of time under specific conditions to optimise aerodynamic performance and range. The adaptive dynamics system maximises ride comfort using continuously variable damping technology.
Optional extras include a full-length panoramic glass roof and an optional cabin air ionisation system that improves air quality, which neutralises odours and minimises bacteria. The optional electronic air suspension can be raised by up to 230mm to improve ground clearance when required.
There are also some very cool and fun features available through the Jaguar Remote smartphone app, which is also compatible with Android and Apple wearables. You can do everything from checking your car’s charge status to starting and stopping charging remotely and contacting the Jaguar Assistance team. My favourite is the remote cabin climate feature. The ability to pre-heat the car before you get into it in winter wins my heart.
The I-PACE, it would seem, is setting the pace for EVs in South Africa.