Charging fast into

Jaguar's future

Jaguar I-PACE, side static
Jaguar I-PACE, front action
Jaguar I-PACE, front action 2
Jaguar I-PACE, rear action
Jaguar I-PACE, rear static
Jaguar I-PACE, front boot
Jaguar I-PACE, dashboard
Jaguar I-PACE, dashboard
Jaguar I-PACE, boot

I SUPPOSE you'll eventually get used to the way the all-electric Jaguar I-PACE moves from standstill to any sane speed the driver chooses, with the easy flex of a right foot.

No holding on to gears or slipping of clutches, a simple press of the accelerator and this most forward looking of Jaguars pounces for the horizon with a muted whirr from the electric motors pushing you into the back of the seat.

Tesla got here years ago, of course, and has been gifted the role in the motoring world that Apple holds in phones and computing - techie and exciting and rather above the more mundane competition.

Except that the I-PACE for the first time now gives the Tesla Model S a proper competitor, shooting for the same tech savvy and pretty prosperous user who fancies the idea of a prestigious machine that will go a long way between visits to a charger.

If the car also saves the owner a small shed load of cash in the process, so much the better. And if it drives as well as it looks, it'll be Christmas every day.

It might be Santa time for Jaguar too and success can't come a moment too soon for a company whose cars have relied on diesel for many years to power the bottom line to profit and a fuel which is now a dirty word in the corridors of power.

Nothing dirty about the I-PACE, of course. With zero emissions it can't get any cleaner in the green eco stakes. An owner will laugh at city centre congestion charges while the accountant in the back office calculates how much the boss is saving on the monthly bill.

That could be £405 a month for a business owner/user over a Volvo XC60 with a petrol engine helping out electric motors, or £196 less if you use your I-PACE as a company car, against a BMW X4 with diesel doing the work. A lowest 13 per cent BIK rating helps make the case for the car in a business role.

But the beauty of Jaguar's new all-electric proposition is that simple economics won't be the main reason for many choosing an I-PACE. It's the way the car looks and - crucially - the way it drives that will seal the deal.

Here's a car cast very much in the contemporary Jaguar SUV mould; handsomely chunky and rounded but using the absence of a bulky engine to shorten the bonnet and stretch space inside for people and things.

The batteries are packed low down under the floor where they don't get in the way, with electric motors driving all four wheels to make the I-PACE a properly capable SUV with off-road pretentions.

Those batteries provide enough wallop for those motors to provide 394bhp and push the I-PACE to 124mph and to 62mph in 4.8 seconds. It feels at least as quick as that last number suggests, accompanied by a distant whirr as the air quickens pace past the windows.

All that electric reserve means a range of up to 292 miles under the new and stricter economy measuring rules that has caused production bottlenecks for makers of conventional petrol and diesel engined cars; as ever that range will fall more quickly if you drive aggressively and heat or cool the interior as the seasons pass.

The I-PACE range starts at £59,995 after you've deducted the £3,500 government plug-in car grant (meanly just cut from £4,500) and tops out at £77,995 (grant included) for a bells and whistle First Edition model.

Those big batteries are heavy, tipping an I-PACE comfortably over two tonnes. That means the suspension has to be tough and you can tell on some rougher roads it's working hard. Smoother surfaces are covered in style with barely a grumble from down below.

That much electric potential takes some charging too; a simple domestic wall plug adds a mere seven miles an hour in range, so you won't be planning too many long hauls after an overnight charge from empty.

Add a wallbox charger at home and that rises to a more meaningful 22 miles per hour - plug in at a public charging site and you could comfortably see 168 miles added as you sip a Starbuck's coffee and work through the latest emails for an hour.

Back out on the road you'll be enjoying the first all electric car that properly mixes long range with the pure pleasures of driving. Nice one Jaguar.

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