Jag re­veals Tesla fighter

Herald Sun - Motoring - - NEWS - PAUL GOVER CHIEF RE­PORTER paul.gover@news.com.au

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.

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