Jag reveals Tesla fighter
THE electric car wars are sparking up as Jaguar launches an SUV challenger to the electric car pioneers from Tesla.
The British luxury brand is promising to put a plug-in luxury SUV on the road by the end of 2018 and is previewing its battery-powered I-Pace at this week’s Los Angeles Auto Show.
It will go head-to-head with the Tesla Model-X, on sale in Australia from $111,900.
The I-Pace is a radical departure from any previous Jaguar and is described by design director Ian Callum as the most significant new model for the brand since the E-Type sports car in the 1960s.
He also predicts the biggest shift in the history of car design as stylists break free from the packaging demands of a large combustion engine and gearbox in a car. “Car design will change more in the next five years than it has in the past 50 years,” he says.
The global unveiling of the car was as hi-tech as the star car, with a virtual-reality introduction in LA and London that was later repeated in California for a celebrity lineup including Miranda Kerr, James Corden, Michelle Rodriguez and David Gandy.
As with many of current or coming plug-in electric cars — from the BMW i3 selling in Australia from $63,900 to the Mercedes-Benz Generation EQ concept car — the future Jaguar relies on a “skateboard” battery pack of lithium-ion cells beneath its good-looking SUV body.
Jaguar is promising a range of 500km between charges and a two-hour charge time.
It also says the pair of electric motors at each end, delivering all-wheel drive, will propel the car from rest to 100km/h in just 4.0 seconds.
The I-Pace is the second SUV in the Jaguar family — the F-Pace, with diesel and petrol power, went on sale this year — but will have more cabin and luggage space in a slightly smaller body.
Jaguar won’t discuss pricing or even where the I-Pace will be built but says the show concept was developed from a completed production model.
That points to a car that’s much more than the typical show tease, so a realistic production date would be within about 18 months.
As for the comparison with the Tesla SUV, Callum says there is one compelling reason to buy the coming Jaguar.
“Just take a look at it. This is a Jaguar, and a real Jaguar in every way,” he says.