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Jaguar goes electric

Jaguar goes electric

Awards keep charging in for the all new, all electric

Jaguar I-Pace. Hot off the press- three World Car of the Year Awards.  In Canada, automotive journalists awarded the I-Pace with top honours in the utility and green car categories.

In its first year on the market, the I-Pace is winning a gobs of hardware. Why? Because it’s beautiful, glamorous, clever, fast and futuristic.

Though it is called a utility vehicle, it’s not a box on wheels. The slipstream silhouette sends out a sporty vibe that stops all thoughts of loading it up with tools, bags of soil or weed whippers.

It can haul cargo and it can do an off road jig, but first and foremost it is a luxury electric vehicle that rivals the Tesla standard, and challenges products from Germany.

Dipping into the I-Pace pool will cost you $89,000 at the low end and just over $100,000 at the high end. My test vehicle the

I-Pace EV400 AWD was $103,000.

So the I-Pace is a statement vehicle that says yes I can afford all the gasoline I would ever need, but I prefer to plug in.

The I-Pace does has no other lifeline than battery power. Don’t count on a little pocket gas engine that could aid a slow roll to a charger.  The official numbers say the I-Pace has a range of 377 kilometres when fully charged. The real world enemies of that number are heat and cold.

I tested the I-Pace during cool to cold weather, so the shine came off that range number pretty quickly.

Our situation at home is not EV friendly so we have to charge at a public charging station. Before we left to return the car, the I-Pace was plugged in at a university parking lot where it took six hours to bring it up to a 70 per cent charge. It had 50 kilometres of range when we first plugged it in.

The trip to our destination was 70 kilometres and after charging, the I-Pace was showing a driving range of 108 K.

It was cold out, so I decided to avoid the highway and take a secondary road instead so I could benefit from the extra braking that would regenerate power to the battery.

The I-Pace displays a lot of information about how much charge remains and how far the vehicle can go. These info graphics reveal how fast the battery starts to drain when driving over 100k, and using essentials such as heat and defrost. So I turned off the heat, I reduced my speed to about 60 kilometres, and slowed down or braked when I could to build up the battery reserves.

I made it to my destination with the battery at 19 percent charge, and the range at 44 kilometres.

This is the reality of the electric car, whether you buy one for $30,000 or $100,000. You may leave home fully charged, but finding a charging station when the battery is running low is a challenge.

At least the I-Pace has so many charms, it takes some of the edge off range anxiety.  For instance you can get where you are going really fast.  

The I-Pace peels off 0-100 k in 4.8 seconds. The battery sparks out 394 horsepower while producing a thrilling 512 lb.-ft. of torque.

Power in an electric car is a weird and wonderful thing, hammer the throttle and it goes full out with no pause for breath, or gear changes, and of course, no noise. The AWD system makes sure the I-Pace remains hitched to the road and the air suspension buffs the roughness out of ragged tarmac.

So it handles sharply, yet rides with grace, steering is smooth and braking is efficient. That same sort of function and style transfers to the interior spaces. Programmable ambient lighting sets a mood, the charcoal ash wood veneer on the dash warms the dark leather, and a superior sound system calms the cabin. 

Seats are plush and the layout of driver controls, thoughtful and stylish.

Jaguar still has a way to go though with computer functions. Reaction to input can be slow, and the simplest things like heat and fan settings are frustrating and fussy to use.

A full sweet of driver aids adds a layer of protection from mishaps. Blind spot and steering assist, surround cameras, adaptive cruise control and driver condition monitor, are just a few of the driver’s helpers. But the amount of intervention can get confusing with buzzers and beepers alerting you to unseen dangers.

The I-Pace was a bold move for Jaguar, that has paid off in sales and awards.  If you’re looking for the latest in luxury and technology in an EV then you might be saying, ‘I Prefer the I-Pace.’

Kathy Renwald

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