Jaguar Unveils All-Electric I-Pace SUV, Targets Tesla Model X

This story originally appeared on Bloomberg.com on November 14, 2016; click here to view. 

The four-door, five-seat SUV will go on sale in 2018.

Jaguar I-Pace

Monday at a private party in Los Angeles, Jaguar unveiled its first all-electric vehicle, the I-Pace Concept.

The four-door, five-seat SUV, which will go on sale in 2018, runs off a liquid-cooled 90kWh lithium battery pack that gets 220 miles of driving on one charge. Jaguar executives said the vehicle will produce the equivalent of 400hp and achieve 516 pounds-feet of torque.

This is the first all-electric vehicle Jaguar has produced, but not the first time the company has dabbled in harnessing electric power. Jaguar revealed the hybrid electric Project C-X75 concept in 2010 at the Paris Motor Show; the supercar could hit 60mph in less than three seconds and hit 100mph in less than six seconds—in theory, at least. Top speed exceeded 200mph.

While Project C-X75 was never slated for actual production, Jaguar says I-Pace will hit the market in nearly the same form in which reporters saw it today. The company hopes to tap into the electric vehicle market that hit a half-million sales globally last year, according to Jaguar press statements.

Hours before the official launch party, Jaguar design director Ian Callum led private press previews in L.A. and London, including a virtual reality presentation that allowed reporters to “look” all around its exterior and interior workings.

Hard details remain scarce, especially considering the lack of tactile feedback that VR provides, but the inside includes lightweight slim seats and a sport driving position for the driver. The dashboard seemed to have touch screens and a relatively minimal aesthetic, with broad visibility on the sides and above the driver. (There was some grumbling in the ranks about the impossibility of taking notes and asking questions during a lengthy VR presentation, but Jaguar deserves praise for its creativity in running a refreshingly unique preview.)

During the presentation, Callum described the I-Pace as having more in common with that precursor hybrid supercar than it does with conventional crossovers and SUVs. Magnetic electric motors at the front and rear axles of the car deliver all-wheel-drive-like traction and aggressive acceleration—the I-Pace will be able to hit 60mph in fewer than 4 seconds, which falls behind Elon Musk’s Tesla Model X P100D in Ludicrous mode but 2 seconds faster than the baseline Model X 75D.

Thanks to the absence of a combustion engine and transmission tunnel running through the center of its body, the silhouette of the car is sleeker and lower than conventional SUVS, with increased interior space and improved driver visibility behind the wheel.

I-Pace will be able to reach 80 percent full power in 90 minutes on a home charger.

Jaguar has declined to say what the price of the new SUV might be, but consumers can expect to shop it against the $88,800 Tesla Model X, $78,700 Porsche Cayenne Hybrid, and $62,100 BMW X5 xDrive40e.