Jaguar Land Rover’s all-electric SUV, the I-Pace, was officially unveiled to the world early Friday morning (AEDT), live from Graz in Austria where the rather beautiful and sleek looking luxury cars are being made.
The webcast reveal, which was – rather bizarrely – “hosted” by British comedian Jack Whitehall, was watched online by several thousand, and lit social media up with a mix of rave reviews and, of course, the inevitable comparisons with Tesla.
“Jaguar just stepped into the arena with Tesla,” Tweeted Green Car Reports. “ Jaguar officially announces the I-PACE, its Model X killer,” said TechnBuffalo.
“Jaguar’s all-electric 2019 I-Pace has @Tesla in its sights,” Tweeted Digital Trends. “Jag is out-Tesla-ing Tesla with this I-Pace event,” quipped another. And on it goes.
It all depends on who builds the best network for EVs. Tesla has the best EV network. No denying.
— Arshjyot Singh (@PixelGRID_io) March 1, 2018
Of course, the rivalry has been egged on by Jaguar itself, which staged a “cheeky” race between the I-Pace and Model X as part of the pre-packaged reveal (more about that later, but it has been noted by some that the US EV maker’s shares had fallen in after hours trading – 3.5 per cent at time of publication).
So what do we know about the Jaguar’s first all-electric offering that we didn’t a few days ago?
Price: Jaguar Land Rover Australia has revealed that the I-Pace is now available for order in Australia, priced from $119,000 (I-Pace S). (In the UK, they are selling from £60,000.)
No official word yet on exactly when delivery on these orders will be, but earlier this week JLRA told RE it would most likely be October-ish.
That price tag compares to a starting price of around $A120,000 for the Model X. The Model X P90D model sits at up around $200,000.
Range: Jaguar says the I-Pace’s “liquid cooled” 90kWh battery has an official range of 480km per charge, which is impressive, but not much change from the official range of 465km for the Model X.
Jaguar says the car can use “rapid public charging” – which apparently refers to a 100kW DC charger – to get the battery from 0-80 per cent in just 40 minutes. A 15 minute-long charge can provide 100km of range.
Jaguar says it has also built in a “battery pre-conditioning system,” which it explains thus: “when plugged in the I-PACE will automatically raise (or lower) the temperature of its battery to maximise range ahead of driving away.”
Battery performance: We note that in some of the finer print, JLRA says the I-Pace’s li-ion battery uses “432 pouch cells.” We asked our EV brains trust, Bryce Gaton, what that meant. Here’s what he said:
“There are basically three types of cells used for EV batteriess: pouch, prismatic and cylindrical. These refer to the construction – they all use the same lithium chemistries.
“Pouch cells look like those flat microwave curry packs, but with two tabs (for the positive & negative) sticking out the top. …You would use a few hundred in a modern EV.
“They are very good for energy density, but need a fair bit of engineering to make into a useable battery pack that is easily cooled.
“Nissan, in particular ducked the cooling bit and their accelerated battery ageing issues in the early LEAFs were in part due to this,” Gaton said in emailed comments to RE.
“Prismatic cells are big block cells, usually used for conversions. Very easy to use but not particularly energy dense. And cooling them is hard.
“Cylindrical – these are what Tesla use – basically they look like AA, D and the like cells, but are a specific EV size called the 2170 battery cell, named after its 21 mm diameter by 70 mm length.
“These are welded together into packs of several thousand. Good energy density and very easy to keep cool using liquid cooling systems.”
According to JLRA, the I-Pace battery is covered by an eight-year warranty, that is limited to 160,000km and 70 per cent “state of health.” Whole vehicle warranty is three-years/ 100,000km.
Jaguar has also announced plans to undertake second life energy storage trials in an effort to extend the life of its used EV batteries with new recycling partnerships.
Driving performance: The All Wheel Drive car has dual electric motors, one driving the front wheels and the other at the rear, and can go from zero to 100km/h in 4.8 seconds, and to a top speed of around 200km/h.
Tech specs: Much like most new cars on the market, the I-Pace uses a combination of touchscreens, capacitive sensors and physical controls. Like the Tesla Models S and X, it senses the key when the driver approaches the car, and reveals its hidden outer door handles. It also identifies individual driver preferences, and tailors the driving and interior settings accordingly – also not a particularly new thing.
What is new-ish is that the cars will be equipped with Amazon Alexa Skill, Amazon’s version of Siri, which can be asked for information such as “Is my car locked? What is the charging level? Do I have enough range to get to work?”
So what about that race? As mentioned above, one of the most eye-catching parts of the I-Pace reveal was a video (see below) of two 0-100km/h drag races between the Jag and both the Tesla Model X 75D and 100D.
In an electrifying 0mph-60mph-0mph challenge, #Jaguar #IPACE goes head-to-head against the Tesla Model X 75D and 100D to showcase its instant acceleration and braking power. pic.twitter.com/5XeZUurYep
— Jaguar (@Jaguar) March 1, 2018
Spoiler alert: The I-Pace wins both times. Not surprisingly, Tesla devotees on Twitter are calling BS, and for a rematch. Some are also saying the contest was not a fair comparison, and should be between the I-Pace and the Model S.
Our brains trust, who hasn’t seen the video, also smells a rat, and says that “on paper” the Tesla should win.
“Something not quite right there,” Gaton told RE by email. “I wonder if they tricked up an I-Pace but did not use Teslas with either of the ‘Ludicrous’ or ‘Insane’ performance optional extras?”
That said, it’s worth noting that getting the “Ludicrous” option with your Tesla Model X in Australia is an added cost – even for the $200,000 model. So what that means in comparison to the $120,000 I-Pace remains to be seen.
No word yet from Elon Musk. But as the Tweet below points out – and as Musk himself has said numerous times before – any competition is good competition in the global EV space. So bring it on!
another proof that $TSLA has successfully dragged the auto industry kicking and screaming into electrification. but that’s not a P100D though! 🍿😂🍺
Jaguar compares new I-Pace with #Tesla Model X in interesting drag race video https://t.co/b1Ovn65wvh
— ~C4Chaos (@c4chaos) March 1, 2018