ACE OF PACE
Jaguar’s sharp-looking electric SUV is radically different from the rest of the company’s “cats”.
WWHAT started off as a company building sidecars for motorcycles ultimately became Jaguar Cars Limited, makers of high-end sports and saloon cars with a blend of luxury and performance that nothing else in the period could match. Jaguars became well-known for their powerful engines, high-quality engineering and typically lavish British woodand-leather interiors.
In the decades following World War II, Jaguars were highly desired motorcars, epitomised most of all by the E-Type (1961) and the XJ6 (1968). The world has moved on since, and while the spirit of both the E-Type and XJ6 continue with the F-Type and XJ (with 8-, 6- and 4-cylinder engines) respectively, the emergence of a peculiar genre of vehicles called SUVs has created a new family of Jaguars that founder Sir William Lyons would never have imagined.
Jaguar’s Pace range is currently made up of the F-Pace and E-Pace, both typically sports-utility in terms of their styling and driving character. Neither is particularly unique or special among the sea of a growing number of SUVs from almost every motorcar manufacturer in existence today
The latest to join the Jaguar Pace family is the I-Pace. Now, the prefix does not actually stand for anything (neither does “E” or “F”, for that matter), although by the time you finish reading about this latest model in this story, you might suggest “impressive”, “incredible”, “ingenious” or perhaps even “intoxicating”.
Apart from the F-Type’s front suspension and F-Pace’s rear suspension, the I-Pace shares nothing much else with any Jaguar model.
Not even the engine. That is because this car does not have an internal combustion engine. Instead, it has two electric motors – one in the front and one in the rear. Both are mounted transversely along the axle line, making the drivetrain very compact.
An epicyclic gearset does a single reduction in the ratio of 9:1, while an arrangement of slipping clutches takes care of differential speed variations. Hence the notable absence of a bulky gearbox or differentials. In between the two axles and sitting in the lowest section of the chassis is an array of 432 lithiumion cells that, in total, make up the 90kWh battery pack. The resulting weight distribution is an ideal 50:50, front:rear.
The entire arrangement of propulsion units, energy storage pack and power control modules is very low in the chassis and all within the wheelbase of the car. It is a layout every car stylist would love to start with.
There is nothing ahead of the front wheels that the bonnet would require to accommodate,