Jaguar Unveils I-PACE Concept

November 16, 2016

The Jaguar I-PACE Concept previews a production car that will hit roads in 2018. It will be the smartest five-seater sports car; a performance car, a family car and an SUV all in one. Its groundbreaking design, true Jaguar performance and competitive range and charging times will make it the first real electric alternative to a traditional premium SUV.

Jaguar’s design and engineering teams have taken full advantage of the opportunities presented by electrification: a cab-forward, sporting driving position, exceptional interior space and, of course, zero tailpipe emissions and instant acceleration. The battery pack and motors have been designed and engineered by Jaguar Land Rover to deliver outstanding efficiency.

With over 500km range on the NEDC cycle, the average user could charge just once a week. Charging is easy and quick, with 80 percent charge achieved in 90 minutes and 100 per cent in just over two hours using 50kW DC charging.

The interior features premium materials and beautiful, tactile details that highlight British craftsmanship at its best. There is digital craftsmanship too, with two, super-intuitive touchscreens that serve up information where and when the driver needs it. Packed with proven Jaguar sports car technology, the I-PACE Concept features exceptional ride quality, authentic handling and a 0-60mph time of around four seconds.

Wind back to early October, T-minus six weeks before the launch of the I-PACE Concept and Ian Callum is in his office, with his red F-TYPE R parked in full view right outside. “It was a beautiful evening last night,” he says. “So I primed the iPhone with music and just went driving. Three hours around Warwickshire, Oxford and the Cotswolds. It was the most fantastic three hours and I did think to myself: ‘Why don’t people get this pleasure out of driving anymore?"

With Ian Callum it always comes back to the cars. Indefatigable enthusiasm for cars in general and Jaguars specifically is all part of Callum’s brand. It’s sustained him through a long and illustrious career defined by the creation of timeless, beautiful sports cars; deceptively simple silhouettes he’s gone on to translate into a range of timeless, beautiful sports saloons for Jaguar.

The I-PACE Concept is, however, something altogether new: not a traditional sports car, saloon or SUV and absolutely not a traditional Jaguar. Yet his approach to its design is absolutely traditional Callum; it’s informed by a sense of history, his scholarly understanding of form language and, inevitably, that overwhelming sense of enthusiasm.

“People tell me they think the car is going to change,” he starts. “Well, as long as we’ve got eyes in our heads and sit the way we do in cars they’re not. What changes with a battery electric vehicle is the absence of mechanical machinery sitting in particular places. That’s the opportunity.

“Now, if you give a designer a natural proportion of a sports car, they will tend towards a mid-cabin. We like the idea that people are sitting between the wheels. The old-fashioned notion was of people sitting behind the wheels, as it was with a horse and carriage. Suddenly, cars took on a completely new proportion in designers’ eyes. Mid-cabin is now the default silhouette designers want.”

Callum is of course best known for front-engined cars, but he’s nothing if not unsentimental. Not to mention adamant.

“My favourite is still C-X75; you work around what you have. It liberates you to be able to put the people - who set the visual volume of the car more than anything - where you want them to be, which naturally is further forward. It’s practical to do so also; you get more space between the wheels when you’re not constrained by the engine package. But also we don’t like to see a lot of mass over the back of the car. You want to push that mass forward, otherwise the car looks like it’s falling back. That’s just an instinct and so it was incredibly gratifying to have had the opportunity to do just that with the I-PACE Concept.”

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