Jaguar has introduced South Africa to the future of motoring with the first electric vehicle launched together with a network of rapid charging stations to enable long-distance travel over the length and breadth of the country. Lerato Matebese and Wilhelm Loots took the all-electric Jaguar I-Pace for a drive that included tar, gravel and even a water crossing.
The Jaguar I-Pace is like no other car that Jaguar has ever built throughout its celebrated history. With its electric propulsion and a battery pack placed in the floor to provide perfect balance and a low centre of gravity, the I-Pace represents a giant leap into the future of motoring and the car as we have come to know it over more than a century of internal combustion engine (ICE) cars.
As such, the multiple award-winning I-Pace may well be more worthy of the name ‘automobile’ than any car that has gone before to blaze (and smoke) the trail to this point in history.
NOT TO WORRY
For those unfamiliar with electric vehicles (EVs), range anxiety is often a concern, so allow us to put your mind at ease: Fitted with a state-of-the-art 90 kWh battery pack that provides a range of 470 km, the I-Pace has nearly eight times more range than what is required for the average daily commute of 60 km in South Africa, and very nearly the same range as the average ICE car.
The big advantage of an EV, though, is the convenience of overnight charging in your garage at home, and starting each morning with a full ‘tank’, something that no ICE vehicle can give you.
Furthermore, the convenience of having a filling station in your garage at home, never having to visit a petrol station again, and never having to pay exorbitant prices for a tank of petrol, far outweighs any range anxiety.
Long distance travel in South Africa still represents somewhat of a challenge, but since only 10% of all travel is more than 400 km per return trip, for now, it simply requires planning to ensure a smooth trip without any anxiety. We forget that up until the middle 70s all long-distance travel by car in South Africa raised the same range anxiety and required the same careful planning because of filling stations that were closed at night and over weekends.
Addressing the unique requirements for long distance EV travel, Jaguar, in partnership with electric vehicle charging authority GridCars, announced the rollout of the Jaguar Powerway in September 2018. The national network of 60 kW rapid charging stations currently sees more than 85 stations in the country’s major hubs and along frequently travelled holiday routes.
In addition to charging stations installed at every Jaguar Land Rover retailer in South Africa, a total of 30 public charging stations have been erected at various points of convenience, such as shopping centres, in the country’s major hubs including Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London and Bloemfontein.
Topping up your Jaguar I-Pace from a 60 kW fast charger will provide 100 km of range in 20 minutes, and the typical 10-80% charge will take about an hour (less than 40 minutes with a 100 kW fast charger), which is about the same time it will take you to have a meal and visit the restrooms.
THE I-PACE CHARGING BUSINESS
Each charging station is also equipped with a 22 kWh AC fast charger to accommodate plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) such as the new Land Rover and Range Rover Sport PHEV models. For home charging, Jaguar offers an optional 7.4 kW wall box for a full charge in about 12 hours, ideal for overnight charging. The I-PACE also comes standard with a universal ‘occasional use’ charging cable compatible with a regular 240 V household sockets. This method will achieve a full charge in about 24 hours.
The most important selling point for any EV, and the I-Pace in particular, however, has little to do with range or zero local emissions but has everything to do with vastly superior performance, safety and comfort. Fitted with two electric motors that deliver 294 kW of power and 696 Nm of torque, the all-wheel-drive I-Pace blitzes from 0-100 km/h in just 4.8 seconds.
With 100% torque available from start, and all the way through to its top speed of 200 km/h, the I-Pace accelerates like a rocket from all speeds, without the noise and drama of an engine and turbo having to spool up, no gear changes and the ensuing drop in engine revolutions with its constant push and pull effect on the occupants, no noise, and vastly less vibration.
The experience of noise-free, smooth acceleration and the seeming lack of any vibration is an experience like no other as it creates a sense of being isolated from the hustle, bustle and clamour of the world around you. Driving the I-Pace is a serene experience, even in heavy traffic, or perhaps even more so in heavy traffic.
As can be expected of Jaguar, the I-Pace comes with a whole suite of driver assist systems, active and passive safety features, and the latest infotainment and connectivity – all of which adds to making the I-Pace an exceptional car.
Report by LERATO MATEBESE & WILHELM LOOTS | Images © JAGUAR LAND ROVER SA