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Driven: Jaguar finds strong demand for I-Pace SUV

Jaguar looks beyond Tesla’s Model X and casts a wider net with its first I-Pace BEV

6 Dec 2018

JAGUAR Land Rover (JLR) Australia says early demand for its first battery-electric vehicle, the I-Pace mid-size SUV, has been strong ahead of its entrance into a new segment for the evolving British brand.


Speaking to GoAuto this week at the I-Pace national media launch in Sydney, JLR Australia product public affairs manager James Scrimshaw said about 100 pre-orders had been lodged by last week.


He said potential demand would be something of an unknown until news of the I-Pace spread and customers got behind the wheel of demonstrators at dealerships.


“We expect a whole lot more test drives,” he said. “We’ve had close to 100 people order it, and no one’s even driven it. That’s pretty good. That’s a lot of faith in the brand.”


Mr Scrimshaw said JLR Australia expected no supply issues for the I-Pace that had been well positioned, with special attention paid to its specification in an up-market SUV segment.


“We’ve spent a lot of time trying to make sure we put a lot of standard features in the basic cars,” he said. “It is a different market set than we’re used to. We know who our competitors are, but we think we’ll do pretty well out of it.”


When asked if JLR Australia was targeting Tesla’s Model X with the I-Pace, Mr Scrimshaw said its aim was much broader than that.


“We’re looking in the $120-150k market,” he said. “That’s even people for are buying cars like Range Rover Sport.


“When you look inside the car, it’s actually quite a roomy car, and once people get in it, sit in it and drive it and think maybe this is something I’d consider, everyone is a potential customer for a car like this.


“A lot of those guys are early adopters who buy the latest engines we have. We already know from the way Range Rover Sport sells that there’s a lot of potential in the $120-150k market.”


As such, the I-Pace will take on mid-size and large SUVs in the premium segment, including non-electrified models, according to Mr Scrimshaw.


“It is a unique car,” he said. “Even though it’s an SUV, we’re not marketing it up against Land Rovers and saying it’s going to do everything a Land Rover does.”


Asked if Jaguar buyers would warm to the I-Pace as a genuine alternative to the E-Pace and F-Pace, Mr Scrimshaw said he was keen to see what the future held.


“It’s really going to be interesting, (because) we’ve (already) attracted a new customer base,” he said.


“Just think, 18 months ago we didn’t sell any (Jaguar) SUVs at all. We had no F-Pace. So, we’ve changed the brand a lot in two years. We were the saloon and sportscar company, and we’ve really changed.”


SUVs accounted for 67.4 per cent of Jaguar’s 2380 sales to the end of November this year, with Mr Scrimshaw saying he hoped the I-Pace would eventually outsell its F-Pace (908) and E-Pace (669) siblings.


“I hope it will surpass the others, but we’ll soon see,” he said. “It is more expensive – it’s double the price of E-Pace and it’s another 30, 40 per cent on what an F-Pace is.


“It is a different market set, but there are a lot of people buying cars in that category and in that price range, especially in Land Rover.”


As reported, the I-Pace line-up starts with the S priced from $119,000 before on-road costs, climbing to $130,200 and $140,800 for the mid-range SE and HSE respectively, while the limited First Edition flagship costs $159,700.

Standard equipment in the S includes dusk-sensing LED headlights and tail-lights, 18-inch alloy wheels, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, eight-way power-adjustable Luxtec front sports seats, a Touch Pro Duo infotainment system with 10.0- and 5.0-inch touchscreens, satellite navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity, a 12.0-inch digital instrument cluster, a 380W Meridian sound system, dual-zone climate control, keyless start and start, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Advanced driver-assist safety technologies extend to low-speed autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection, lane-keep assist, rear cross-traffic alert, cruise control, park assist, traffic sign recognition, a reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors, and tyre pressure monitoring.

The SE adds premium LED headlights, LED daytime running lights, 20-inch alloy wheels, a power-operated tailgate, power-folding side mirrors, 10-way power-adjustable front sports seats with memory functionality, grained-leather upholstery, high-speed AEB, blind-spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality.

Further upstream, the HSE picks up Matrix LED headlights with scrolling indicators, a hands-free tailgate, 18-way power-adjustable front sports seats with heating and ventilation, heated rear seats, Windsor leather upholstery, an 825W 15-speaker Meridan sound system, steering assist and surround-view cameras.

Available for the first 12 months of Australian-market I-Pace production, the First Edition also features air springs, adaptive dampers, a windshield and washer-jet heating, a fixed panoramic sunroof, rear privacy glass, gloss-black exterior trim, digital radio, a windshield-projected head-up display, four-zone climate control, a heated steering wheel, ambient interior lighting, First Edition-branded scuff plates, extended leather upholstery, Charcoal Ash wood trim and a suede roofliner.

The I-Pace is motivated by two permanent magnet synchronous electric motors mounted on opposing axles, providing variable all-wheel-drive via a single-speed automatic transmission.

System outputs are 294kW of power and 696Nm of torque, enabling a sprint from standstill to 100km/h in 4.8 seconds, on the way to a top speed of 200km/h.

A 90kWh lithium-ion battery pack provides a claimed 470 kilometres of range under the new WLTP standard, while power consumption is 21.2kWh per 100km.

Charging the battery pack from empty to 80 per cent takes about 40 minutes when a 100kW DC fast charger is plugged in, while a 7kW AC charger needs more than 10 hours to reach the same level.

The underfloor placement of the electric motors and battery pack allows for extra interior storage, including a 10.5L central bin and 656L of rear cargo capacity – or 1453L when the 60/40 split-fold bench seat is stowed.


The I-Pace’s coil-sprung suspension consists of double-wishbone front and multi-link rear axles, although air springs ($2002) and adaptive dampers ($2405) are among the S, SE and HSE’s various individual options.

A five-year/200,000km factory warranty is standard with the I-Pace, while its battery pack has a longer, eight-year/160,000km guarantee. Five years of capped-price servicing and roadside assistance are also included.


2018 Jaguar I-Pace pricing*

S EV400 (a) $119,000
SE EV400 (a) $130,200
HSE EV400 (a) $140,800
First Edition EV400 (a) $159,700

*Excludes on-road costs

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