With the Delhi winter sun just about giving way to spring, it was the perfect time to go out for an day-long excursion, and what better way to do it in an all-electric Jaguar I-Pace SUV. A combination of cool technology and luxury, the red-hot striking exterior will surely add charge to your drive.
The national capital, which has consistently featured in almost every list of the world’s most-polluted cities, is in dire need of clean and green mobility alternatives. With its zero tailpipe emissions, the Jaguar I-Pace fits the bill in many ways. A few minutes into the drive and it’s amply clear why EVs are being touted to be the future, especially for day-to-day city driving, wherein they end up saving a lot more energy compared to conventional ICE vehicles.
The I-Pace gets a dual-motor setup with 400hp on tap and a 90kWh lithium-ion battery pack that offers a WLTP-certified range of 480km. In real world, the level of charge in this electric car is hardly going to be a matter of concern, as the brake-energy recuperation system regenerates the battery’s state-of-charge every time you brake. The system has adjustable modes and the recuperation level can be set to ‘High’ for single-pedal driving, with the I-Pace slowing down to a complete halt after removing the foot from the accelerator. While it might sound counterintuitive, it was extremely easy to align one’s driving style with this mode in no time.
With over 300km of displayed range on the full-digital instrument cluster when the car was handed over, range anxiety seemed like a thing of the past already. Most owners would prefer plugging in the I-Pace into its 7kW AC wall-box charger that comes bundled along and is stowed away under the hood, every alternate day. And if they are venturing out on the highway, a 25kW DC fast charger would replenish the range from 0-80 percent in about three-and-a-half hours.
It's got the looks
This red Jaguar is an attention magnet with its modern styling that is a mix of a coupe and SUV. The front end gets the distinctive Jaguar grille, flanked by sleek LED headlamps, which lead to pronounced fenders on the sides, of which the left-hand unit houses the neatly concealed charging port.
The side profile starts amplifying the sportiness of the design as the I-Pace doesn’t sit high off the ground despite being a crossover, and that is a little concerning for the floor-mounted battery pack. However, this top-spec HSE trim does come equipped with optional air suspension that raises ground clearance by an additional 56mm to 230mm.
With a set of flush-fitting, retractable door handles and a sharply sloping roofline towards the rear, the I-Pace looks ready to pounce. The rear end is quintessentially Jaguar too, bearing design cues similar to the F-Type with the wraparound tail lamps getting an LED signature. While the sharply-raked rear windscreen also gets a prominent spoiler at its top, the roof is completely made of a single-pane glass, which, prevents this modern-day crossover from offering an openable sunroof.
Step inside the cabin and one is greeted with rich and high-quality plush finishing and myriad touchscreens.
There’s a 10.0-inch infotainment system placed tilted at the centre of the dashboard, and so is a 5.5-inch unit for climate control placed just below. The screens are slick to operate even on the go without causing much distraction. There’s no gear selector though and only buttons on the centre console to switch between the forward, reverse, neutral and park modes. Convenience features include ventilation function for the front seats, while the rear of the I-Pace’s cabin gets B-pillar-mounted AC vents for rear occupants, who, might feel hemmed in by the sloping roofline.
The feeling of being couped up is only aggravated by the glass roof which is laminated to prevent excessive sunlight from entering the cabin, but is a constant reminder that something is amiss above the head. A panoramic sunroof would have uplifted the cabin ambience by leaps and bounds. Still, visibility from the large front windshield as well as the pair of quarter glasses on the sides is good, enabling the driver to easily manoeuvre this substantial crossover even in tight city spaces.
The go to match show
Driving around in the city is a breeze with the I-Pace. For starters, there are no gears and clutch to struggle with and the experience is only enhanced with the stress-free, single-pedal driving. With Delhi imposing a strict speed limit of 60kph on most of its arterial roads, it’s extremely easy to just glide through the traffic, comfortably inside the I-Pace’s cabin and closely monitoring the speed in the head-up display.
The Meridien 3D-surround sound system is a great companion too, making the drive thoroughly enjoyable.
One is also reassured from the fact that there is instant power at disposal whenever required to close an empty gap. The power electronics on the I-Pace are supplied by Continental and the crossover lunges forward with alacrity with the two motors spinning at full revolutions and offering their entire torque instantly. The I-Pace is capable of doing a 0-100kph sprint in just 4.8 seconds.
The suspension offers a pliant ride and the crossover sticks to its line even around fast corners. The ease of driving an EV in the city, alongside knowing that there is negligible harm being done to the environment and wallet during every commute, is a big sigh of relief.
Fuel prices are soaring and are one of the key drivers for the accelerated growth of the passenger vehicle EV segment, which registered a 234 percent uptick in H1 of FY2022 in India. That said, the nascent EV market that still contributes to less than 1 percent of total passenger vehicle sales in the country.
Moreover, Jaguar’s flagship I-Pace doesn’t come cheap either at a price tag ranging from Rs 1.06 crore to Rs 1.12 crore, ex-showroom. Steep import duties is one of the major factors behind these marked-up prices in India compared to overseas markets. However, with competition intensifying in the luxury EV space, especially given the product offensives planned by Mercedes-Benz and Audi in India, the Jaguar I-Pace is set for an interesting ride ahead.