In early 2017 Jaguar Land Rover made the announcement that from 2020 it would only be building hybrid and electric drivetrains for its vehicles. A number of other significant companies have followed suit and made similar commitments and a race to market has begun. Whilst budget EVs and Hybrids have been around for some time, the real prize for the premium vehicle manufacturers was finding a way to catch up with Tesla, matching the sort of staggering performance, unrivalled range and attractive design with a similar or better product. So far among the major manufacturers we have seen a kind of brinkmanship, with each moving slowly trying not to take too many risks as they offer hybrid and then electric versions of their most popular vehicles. Jaguar Land Rover completed a significant coup in March 2018 by bringing its electric SUV I-Pace vehicle to market before Audi’s E-tron. Perhaps more significant though, is that it can compete directly with the Tesla Model X in range, performance, design and technology terms, as well as being significantly cheaper. Given Tesla’s continuing production problems and high prices, this vehicle is going to sell extremely well.
Jaguar has managed to beat its competitors to market with the I-Pace, a brand new electric vehicle designed to challenge in the newly emerging electric SUV market. First details are very promising; with the new jaguar offering good ranges big latent power outputs and a well-received style and design formula. The vehicle will have power outputs of 398bhp, a range of 298 WLTP, a 90kwh battery and a zero to sixty pace of 4.5 seconds.
Another reason that Jaguar Land Rover has achieved a coup of sorts with this vehicle arriving so early is that the EV market is due to grow dramatically very soon. A number of factors have been slowly converging which should cause this. The diesel scandals have lifted the veil on traditional power plants and consumers are now fully aware that whichever engine they choose, the supposed eco-credentials of any internal combustion engine are largely false claims. The evidence for this is that diesel sales in Europe, which make up 50% of the engines, have fallen dramatically.
The new Jaguar Land Rover I-Pace is lined up directly to compete with Tesla, the current dominant premium electric vehicle company. Clearly the arrival of the Model X has been watched very closely by the company, because the premium SUV segment is Jaguar Land Rover’s modus operandi. Tesla has two successful models so far in automotive spaces where no one else is operating and is part way through production of its budget EV, the Model 3. Tesla has effectively taken all the risks and laid the ground work for the automotive industry which never fully expected EVs to be as advanced are they are today, quite as soon as it has happened.
Very little planning has been done to arrange the kinds of infrastructure that will be needed to support a much greater EV fleet in the UK, one of the markets that is essential for this British vehicle to do well. The UK lags very much behind its European neighbors in terms of charging networks and these types of EVs with very large battery packs need a significant amount of charging. With the I-Pace you’ll get the battery up to 80% after 45 minutes when connected to a 100kW DC Rapid Charger. The problem is that this is meaningless in the UK because these types of chargers aren’t exactly prevalent in the UK just yet.
The Jaguar I-Pace is very likely to be a success for the company. It has entered a market with very few competitors so far and managed to beat its key rivals to market. On top of this, the vehicle has been well received, its key statistics are very healthy and more than a match for the current segment leader. Particularly in the UK the vehicle should do very well, using the company’s reliable customer base to draw orders from and in markets such as the US orders should be healthy.