Under the skin of a very different Big Cat
Jaguar has officially unveiled the I-Pace, its first all-electric car and one sure to be an attractive alternative to the current glut of internal-combustion crossovers, and the polarisingly-styled Tesla Model X.
Here's a more detailed look at the technology driving Jaguar into the future.
Regardless of trim, the I-Pace will come with a 90kWh lithium-ion battery pack, good for 480km of range in WLTP testing.
There are 432 pouch cells inside, arranged into 36 modules of 12. Jaguar says it chose the design for its high energy density – essentially the amount of energy able to be crammed into a certain amount of space – and thermal efficiency.
Although we tend to consider big cooling vents and sophisticated air management systems the preserve of high-end internal combustion vehicles, batteries are also temperature sensitive.
Tesla, for example, has to pre-heat the batteries in the Model S/X P100D to deliver peak performance when Ludicrous Mode is selected. If the conditions are wrong, the car isn't able to draw peak power and you don't get that face-peeling hit of acceleration.
Jaguar says the battery pack has been tested to -40 degrees celsius, and argues that's 10 degrees colder than other electric-vehicles can manage. The company also lets owners pre-condition the battery while charging, using mains power to make sure the car is in the ideal state to deliver maximum range.
There's an air-conditioning unit for the battery, too, which activates when things get hot to ensure the cells stay within their ideal operating window. A heat pump has been fitted to help warm the interior and battery in frigid conditions, using energy "scavenged" from the inverters and power electronics for an extra 50km of range in freezing conditions.
The battery itself is mounted low between the axles. Jaguar says it has a centre of gravity 130mm lower than the F-Pace and a perfect 50:50 weight distribution.
A dual-motor setup is the only powertrain option on the I-Pace at the moment. Jaguar has run with Synchronous Permanent Magnet units, mounted concentrically with the single-speed transmission for a lower centre of gravity and tighter packaging. A
With 294kW of power and 696Nm of torque (combined) on tap, the car sprints to 100km/h in just 4.8 seconds – faster than a Tesla Model X 100D, slower than the Ludicrous Mode-enabled P100D. Both those cars are significantly more expensive – $60,000 and $130,000 respectively – than the I-Pace.
When the time comes to slow down, Jaguar has given the car a 'high-regenerative' mode. When you step off the accelerator, the car can generate up to 0.4G of deceleration as the motor essentially becomes a generator, recapturing energy and feeding it back into the battery.
Jaguar is quoting a 10-hour charge time to 80 per cent using a 7kW AC wall box, or just 40 minutes to 80 per cent on a 100kW public fast charger. It also says 15 minutes on a 100kW plug will deliver 100km of range. The car uses a Mode 3 (CCS2) charge plug.
As is the case with most electric vehicles, the I-Pace has charge points pre-programmed into its navigation system. The range calculation takes weather, traffic and any significant hills into account, as you'd hope.
The headline feature here is over-the-air updates. Jaguar is able to push revised software to the I-Pace remotely, opening the door for new infotainment, driving or charging technology. Whether the Big Cat will be gung-ho, slinging updates like Elon Musk and Tesla, remains to be seen.
Behind the wheel, the I-Pace is the first Jaguar to get JLR's Touch Control Duo infotainment and climate control system, coupled with a 12-inch driver display. There's a 4G WiFi hotspot on board, and enough USB ports for all five occupants to charge their devices.
The connected Jaguar InControl Remote app allows owners to remotely activate their heating/air-conditioning and pre-condition the battery, while Alexa integration will allow Amazon Echo users to check if the car is locked, or if the battery is charging, using voice commands.