The Jaguar I-Pace represents the first mainstream luxury brand entering the market with a full-electric SUV, and it was important to Jaguar that it bet the Germans to the punch.
Speaking to Australian media at the Geneva motor show, Ian Hoban, Jaguar's vehicle line director, said that it was critical for the British marque to have the first crack at this car to establish itself in the segment.
"It's [very] important because this car is about demonstrating what Jaguar can do in terms of our technical capability and what the UK engineering team can do, technically. We were very passionate about what we can do and it isn't about a concept car, it's about a production car that you can buy and relate to and experience for yourself," Hoban said.
"So yes, it was important to us to demonstrate what we can do internally and to the world and one of the best ways to do that is to get a car out there before the 'established' competition."
Remarkably, this vehicle came around quite quickly. Normally a new platform and a new car can take over four years, let alone a new platform with brand new technology. Once Jaguar nailed the technology they then went in for the design — as opposed to starting with the design and working to build a car beneath it.
"It was an inspired, now brilliant decision, a few years ago to do this car. It was a risk, in today's environment far less so, but back then it was. It was about four years ago to start working on it. You can overanalyse it, but it's a fairly straightforward decision. You can say we had the technology that would allow us to deliver a car for the customers that will want to buy the car," said Hoban.
"This is the start of a journey. It's important that our customers can buy the technology we are talking about and it's important for us to use the technology we're talking about for future models. You'll obviously see the benefits of what we've already learnt."
This electric vehicle technology will eventually make its way into other Jaguar models, so we could see smaller versions of I-Pace, or perhaps even a faster sports car version to take on the Tesla Roadster and the Porsche Mission E.