Last month, four years after the introduction of the Jaguar I-Pace, and more than 80 international awards later, we were reacquainted with the car that turned the burgeoning electric vehicle industry on its head. Apart from stylistic changes, technology upgrades and software updates, the I-Pace remains the same car that made us fall in love with EVs, and like any first love, it’s a love that stirs emotion across time and distance. 

The Jaguar I-Pace is like no other car that Jaguar has ever manufactured throughout its illustrious history. With its electric propulsion, state-of-the-art battery pack, and smart electronics, the multiple award-winning I-Pace may well be more worthy of the name ‘automobile’ than any car that has gone before it to blaze (and smoke) the trail to this pivotal point in the history of the automobile.

What’s New?

Including numerous updates, the most prominent is a new Pivi Pro infotainment system which features a 12.3” high-definition virtual instrument cluster together with 10” and 5” upper and lower touchscreens and multi-function, haptic rotary controllers. Inspired by smartphones, Pivi Pro is user-friendly, and its powerful processor is supported by a built-in backup battery, enabling instant navigation initialisation.

The navigation uses self-learning algorithms to optimise routing, so much so that voice guidance remains quiet when you’re travelling through areas with which you are familiar, and the maps are always up to date thanks to over-the-air software updates. 

The I-Pace is now also available with an optional wireless device charging pad beneath the “floating” centre console. Wireless charging also includes signal boosting, ensuring the phone’s signal remains stronger for longer. A Smartphone Pack with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard on all derivatives, as is a dual modem embedded SIM and Bluetooth technology which can pair two phones simultaneously.

The I-Pace now comes with an 11 kW onboard charger as standard, enabling customers with access to three-phase electricity supplies to enjoy significantly faster charging. When connected to an 11 kW wall box, 53 km of range per hour can be achieved, while a full charge from empty now takes only 8.6 hours – ideal for overnight charging at home. 

South African customers with access to single-phase supply can continue using 7 kW wall boxes which charge up to 35 km per hour, with a full charge taking 12.75 hours. When charging “on the go”, a 60 kW charger will add up to 76 km in 15 minutes, while a 100 kW charger will add up to 127 km over the same period. 

A new 3D surround camera and ClearSight rear-view digital mirror deliver unimpeded visibility, while cabin air ionisation with PM2.5 filtration captures ultrafine particles and allergens to isolate the cabin from numerous pollutants, including emissions from most of the other cars on the roads today.

The I-Pace also boasts enhanced over-the-air software update capability, allowing the car to update various systems remotely. Infotainment, battery management, and charging can now be updated remotely, enabling the I-Pace to continuously improve over time.

What Range Anxiety?

For those unfamiliar with electric vehicles (EVs), range anxiety is often a concern, so let us put your mind at ease. Fitted with a state-of-the-art 90 kWh battery pack that enables a range of 470 km, the I-Pace has nearly eight times more range than what is required for the average daily SA commute of 60 km and very nearly the same range as the average ICE car. The significant advantage of an EV, though, is the convenience of overnight charging in your garage at home and starting each morning with a full “tank”, which no ICE vehicle can provide. 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 or diesel 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 long-distance travel of more than 400 km per return trip, for now, it simply requires planning to ensure a smooth trip free from anxiety. We tend to forget that 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 GridCars, has rolled out a national network of 60 kW rapid charging stations, currently with more than 300 public charge points located in major hubs and along frequently travelled routes. In addition to charging stations installed at every Jaguar Land Rover retailer in South Africa, the number of public charge points is set to continue to grow exponentially over the next five to ten years. 

Supercar Performance

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 any speed, 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 vibration is an experience like no other as it creates a sense of isolation 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 vast suite of driver-assist systems, active and passive safety features, and the latest infotainment and connectivity – all of which contribute to making the I-Pace the same exceptional car that it has been since its launch four years ago.

Last Word

Since its debut, the I-Pace has won more than 80 global awards, including 2019 World Car of the Year, World Car Design of the Year, World Green Car and 2020 South African Car of the Year, reinforcing its status as arguably the best Jaguar ever, and one of the best EVs in the world.

“Uneasy is the head that wears a crown,” reads Shakespeare’s words – a truth that is as valid for a king as it is for a car anointed as king. The Jaguar I-Pace is no exception, as its raving reviews and numerous awards have not translated into success at the box office. After a promising start in 2018 and 2019, global sales of the Jaguar I-Pace have been on the decline ever since, and even though the electric SUV has sold more than 50,000 units globally, it managed sales of only 2,014 units in the first quarter of 2022 – the worst result since its market launch in 2018.

While chip shortages and supply chain constraints may well be hampering I-Pace sales, this is a car that deserves more and better, and we sincerely hope that Jaguar will give it the priority it so rightfully deserves.

Report by Wilhelm Loots | Images © Jaguar Land Rover South Africa

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