Just under a year ago, I took delivery of my second electric car, the Jaguar I-Pace. It was already nine months old, but it came with a very high specification and cost around 65% of its original new price. Despite the travel restrictions that have prevented my usual crop of long-distance journeys in the UK and Europe, it has been an intriguing experience.
Nevertheless, after 7,000 miles in the Jaguar, I am more than ever convinced that that BEVs (Battery Electric Vehicles) are the future. I have no plans to revert to my fossil-fuel days.
My first EV had been a Nissan Leaf back in 2014, and that was for a specific 18-month long-term national trial sponsored by Nissan and the electricity industry. I wrote about my experiences here. I was impressed with the Leaf and used it as my only vehicle during the lease period. After all, I paid a mere £100 a month as a contribution to the costs. And they even installed a 7.5 kWh home charger which I am still using. The Leaf’s arrival encouraged me to sell my last bodice-ripper of a car, my beloved Porsche 911. Those were the days.
After the Leaf was spirited away back to the leasing company, I returned to fossil fuel. It wasn’t because I didn’t like the electric driving experience—quite the contrary—but the 85-mile range of the original Leaf was unsuitable for anything other than local pottering. The electric spark remained, smouldering in the background, and I told myself I’d be back when range and public charging infrastructure improved.
That happy day came at the beginning of last year when I judged that BEVs were finally ready for prime time. I was also keen to get out of diesel as more restrictions are heaped on the London motorist. Congestion charges, low-emission zones, road restrictions. It never ends, but as far as daily driving charges are concerned, electric vehicles are exempt.
Now, after a year and a modest 7,000 miles, I am in a good position to review my time with a serious EV, one that matches a luxury internal combustion-engined car (ICE) in almost all respects. Is electric motoring really ready for the big time?
The standard of materials and the overall quality in this car are exemplary. I came straight from a 2016 Porsche Macan S (the diesel version) and, while the German SUV impressed with its hewn-from-solid interior, the Jaguar isn’t far behind. The Jaguar is a tad more comfortable, and the creature comforts are more enticing.
Overall, I can give full marks for the design, the materials and fit and finish. I don’t think you would be disappointed with a Jaguar I-Pace in this respect.
There are no compromises in owning this electric car (other than those associated with the charging infrastructure). If anything, the I-Pace is better built than the petrol and diesel models in the range that I’ve inspected. Perhaps this is because this car, unlike other Jaguars, is made in the Magna Steyr factory in Graz, Austria.
I have absolutely no reservations about recommending the Jaguar I-Pace for its overall quality and standard of finish, both inside and out.
3.Instruments and controls
Unlike more radical electric cars, the Jaguar attempts to combine the best of both worlds. Here you have a welcoming and cosseting interior that duplicates the controls and features you will be familiar with. It attracts largely because it is familiar. It also looks gorgeous.
The controls are all conventional, and there is a minimum of screen and menu fiddling needed while driving. This is as well since the infotainment system of my Mark 1 I-Pace leaves much to be desired. It is laggy and counter-intuitive, a problem which has been rectified for the 2021 model year.
There are no fewer than three screens to keep you involved—the usual main navigation panel, the all-electronic instrument cluster, and a smaller screen on the centre console to handle seats, climate control and media. The two large temperature control knobs are particularly intuitive and effective.
They can be pushed and pulled to change between cabin temperature and seat heating/cooling. Each incorporates a digital display which changes according to the mode selected. The entire climate system works perfectly and, in my car, the controls are duplicated for rear-seat passengers. However, you won’t get this on the base models (the car comes in S, SE and HSE specifications) here in the United Kingdom.
The instrument display is entirely electronic and fills the binnacle. This type of display is not confined to electric cars and can be found now on many models from most manufacturers. You can choose between traditional dials, partial dials and maps, and can decide to display individual information elements, including the auto steer and cruise system. It all works well. But my favourite layout, and the one I use almost all the time, is the full map display.
I can live happily with this because my car is equipped with the excellent head-up-display (HUD) option. It was an extra, even on the top-of-the-range HSE spec back in 2019, but it is now a standard fitting, as it should be.
Apart from the essential speed display, the HUD also shows the current speed limit (which the car recognises by a combination of sign-awareness and GPS positioning), navigation instructions (which appear only when a turn or other action is indicated), adaptive cruise control status and, if required, media and telephone details. The display is projected onto the windscreen, so this vital data is always in front of you as you keep your eyes on the road. The HUD is a constant delight, night or day, rain, hail or shine, and it should be a standard, universal fitting, in my opinion.
The steering wheel incorporates sensibly designed controls for audio and display adjustment on the left, and cruise control, the distance between vehicles and lane change assist on the right. While I generally prefer stalk controls for cruise, I got used to the Jaguar layout very quickly. In many respects, it is more sensible to have the information right in front of you rather than relying on muscle memory to operate the stalk.
On either side of the central climate controls and the climate/seat/media screen are two columns of chrome buttons, Porsche-style, which are less intuitive. The left-hand column (on my right-hand-drive car) contains the driving mode toggles and air suspension settings. In a year and 7,000 miles, I never felt wholly comfortable with the layout, although it is very similar to that on the 2016 Macan.
Changing the driving modes (Eco, Comfort and Dynamic) is difficult without taking eyes off the road. Since the mode is a toggle, it’s necessary to prod the button while checking the instrument binnacle’s mode display. Other manufacturers (notably Porsche) do this far better by including the driving mode controls on the steering wheel.
The right-hand column contains the gear selection, the usual park, drive, neutral, reverse. Each has its own large button, thankfully, but I never acquired the muscle memory to hit the right button without looking down. Other manufacturers do this better. Porsche’s mini gear lever on the Taycan fascia is a good effort, but a steering column gear toggle is probably my favourite.
All in all, the Jaguar offers a familiar driving experience and isn’t a big shock for anyone migrating from a traditional vehicle. That’s how many people like it. But there are downsides.
As with most EVs, Jaguar’s approach constitutes a half-way house between fully electronic and fully manual. While superficially attractive (and familiar to converts from traditional cars) it is not perfect. The first-generation infotainment and on-screen control options are slow and frustrating. Even entering an address using the on-screen keyboard is slow and imprecise.
Worse, though, is the completely bonkers method of customising the home screen. It starts from a good position, with the ability to drag panels (containing a group of associated controls, such as media, economy, navigation) and individual elements to form a three-panel home screen. It’s the implementation that fails, especially if you expect it to be as instantaneous and accurate as, say, arranging a smartphone screen.
Because of the system’s laggy nature, selections often overshoot and get placed on another home screen you didn’t ask for. It can be a frustrating experience, reminiscent of those fairground machines where you have to grab a fluffy toy with a crane.
Some owners appear to be very happy with this system from what I’ve read and have no trouble in fine-tuning it to their every whim. I just gave up and stuck with the default offering. And I am by no means a Luddite or unfamiliar with technology.
Recognising this, Jaguar completely revised the system for the 2021 model, introducing new software and display elements and slightly changing the physical characteristics of the fascia layout. I’m told that the system is now much more responsive and, I presume, much easier to customise.
This is a positive move. But guess what? Owners of pre-2021 cars have been left with the kludgy, slow interface. No new experience for them, although the existing system will continue to be updated. In this instance, the Jaguar is more like a traditional car where the display and control layout is with the car for life. More adventurous EV manufacturers have recognised this and built their cars around a single display interface that can be updated to make the old model operate in the same way as the latest car.
In fairness, though, all I-Pace models now receive over-the-air system and software upgrades (within the constraints of original physical design and screen), and this happens automatically. While I’ve owned the Jaguar, there have been minor but welcome updates to the operating system.
The navigation system too, displays signs of compromise. Instead of receiving over-the-air updates, as with many cars these days, the Jaguar’s navigation system requires you to download a new set of maps to a USB memory stick attached to a computer. It takes for ever for some reason. I’ve updated the system three times now, and on two occasions the download failed and I’ve had to start again.
Once the download is complete, the dongle must be plugged into the car so the system can be updated. This degree of hands-on fiddling is out of place in 2021. However, the navigation system (provided by Here) is actually excellent, despite the screen’s slow response. It works well in conjunction with the HUD and the instrument screen, and I encountered no real difficulties, except in route planning as outlined below.
The Jaguar offers a good implementation of Apple CarPlay, which works well. The Apple Maps navigation system is cleaner and more user-friendly than the Jaguar navigator. Unfortunately, the display cannot be replicated in the centre binnacle, nor the HUD. Consequently, I soon tired of this and returned to the Jaguar system.
However, with Apple, you can choose a route on our phone, and it automatically appears in CarPlay when you load Apple Maps. With the Jaguar system, you must first create a route on the third-party Jaguar.here.com website (or on the smartphone app) and then synchronise it with the car. And that doesn’t work as well as you will expect.
My car has suffered from a persistent problem where driver credentials are lost overnight, resulting in the need to log in again. This is usually when I look for my pre-planned route and it isn’t there. This issue isn’t confined to me; it is a common problem reported in YouTube videos and forums. Yet nothing has been done, despite several system updates during the year.
Overall, I get a distinct impression that, while Jaguar is good at making cars, it needs to take a few lessons from other manufacturers when it comes to information technology.
On a more positive note, I can say that the Meridian sound system fitted to the HSE model is superb. No complaints there.
This is an extremely comfortable car to drive. The seats are ideal for me (although I know this is always a personal thing) and the range of adjustment is more than adequate. While the 18-way adjustment covers all bases, the memory function is less useful to me as a sole driver.
Anyone sharing the car with others will find that the three-memory system works well. Unfortunately, the steering column must be manually adjusted, so there is no integration with the seat memory function. Thus, there is no ability to automatically retract the driving wheel when entering or leaving the car—a surprising omission on a luxury vehicle these days.
Unlike implementations in some cars, the lumbar support is more than enough to ensure comfort at all times. The driving position is high but not as elevated as in a more traditional SUV. The Jaguar is more of a compromise between SUV and saloon/sedan, and wins deserved compliments.
5.Driving and handling
This is a big, heavy car weighing 2,133 kg and taking up quite a chunk of road. Despite this, it handles far better than it ought to, aided by the low centre of gravity common to all EVs.
The I-Pace is no sports car, of course, but it has sports car acceleration (0-60 mph in 4.8s), and it is surprisingly chuckable for an SUV, quite as good as, for instance, the Porsche Macan which is fresh in my memory. That 4.8s may seem slow in comparison some EVs on the market. But, take it from me, 4.8s is plenty fast enough for normal road use.
The car is easy to place on the road, slightly less easy to park. Still, overall Jaguar has done a good job translating the marque’s reputation for handling and performance into an enthusiast-friendly luxury car.
Visibility overall is middling. The A-pillars are thick, hindering the view at junctions, but the driver’s view is commanding. The same does not apply to the view to the rear. The rear screen is so small and narrow (because of the rake) as to be almost useless. It doesn’t have a wiper, either, because Jaguar’s aerodynamics point to self-cleaning. This is only partially true, however. There is no problem in general use, but in very muggy, dirty conditions, you are left wishing for a good wash/wipe option.
In fact, the rear visibility is so bad (a fault suffered by many modern aerodynamic car bodies, not just the I-Pace) that I tend mainly to rely on the door mirrors, the excellent blind-spot awareness systems and the rear-view camera (when parking).
The car rides exceptionally smoothy, especially on the air suspension fitted to my car. It is relaxed and calm on the highway with outside noise well suppressed (again, thanks partly to the double glazing). Cornering is accomplished with minimal roll, although the car’s size and weight is apparent when travelling fast. Throughout, though, the car remains poised and inspires confidence.
Road and tyre noise is really the only problem, although well damped. As with all EVs, this is more noticeable because everything else is so quiet.
Although I haven’t taken the car off-road, it’s comforting to know that all the systems are there to ensure that the I-Pace makes a pretty good fist of negotiating rough terrain. After all, Jaguar Land Rover have most of the kudos in this respect.
The power train, as with most electric vehicles, is exceptionally smooth. Of course, there are no gears, but the torque characteristics of two motors delivering 400 hp more than make up for that. With an electric car such as this, you are always in the right gear, whether pobbling around town or overtaking on a country road. Torque is always at maximum and acceleration is instantaneous. It makes driving on fast, winding roads both pleasurable and safe. The Jaguar is capable of putting a smile on your face whenever you get it outside the city boundaries.
The regenerative braking system, which is common to all EVs, will slow the car down to a stop if set up to do so. It renders braking almost superfluous in normal conditions. For much of the past year, I have driven using just one pedal, the accelerator. Slightly reduced pressure on the pedal has the same effect as slotting down a gear in a conventional car. Instead of changing down when approaching corners, lift off the power and reapply to exit. It works like a charm and gives as much pleasure in driving as you can get from a conventional gearbox set up.
Switch off or reduce regenerative braking if you want to experience a more traditional driving experience, but you’ll probably get bored with that. There is also the option to turn creep on or off. Conventional automatic gearboxes will allow the car to creep forward if you take your foot off the brake. Electric motors don’t creep: they are either on or off. Having spoken with many EV owners, most initially leave creep switched on because it gives a familiar feeling. But they all eventually turn it off because it just makes for easier driving.
One happy result of using regenerative braking instead of the brake pedal is that brake pads and disks can last much longer than in conventional cars. I’ve seen reports of Tesla Model S cars (which were introduced as long ago as 2012) running for 100,000 miles between pad changes.
The air suspension fitted to my car ensures a smooth ride, and I can say that the Jaguar, with its double glazing and well-sorted undercarriage, is one of the quietest and most refined cars I have ever driven. The steering is well-weighted and provides good feedback. It’s a car to please a driving enthusiast rather than, as with the Tesla Model S, a car that does everything well but blandly (except in terms of acceleration, of course). I’ve heard it said that the Model S is a wonderful car for people who don’t like cars. The Jaguar, on the other hand, is a wonderful car for people who like cars.
Parking, largely because of the tiny rear window, can be awkward. With the stubby front and sheer back, judging distance is difficult. But the assistance systems (front and rear sensors and rear camera) go a long way to easing the pain.
The automatic parallel and perpendicular parking features work better than I’ve experienced with cars in the past, although it’s often easier to do the job yourself. Perpendicular parking, as in most car parks, is accurate and relatively easy to set up. Parallel parking is something I’ve not tried much. In a busy city such as London, there is always an impatient driver behind while you are working out which button to press.
However, in common with most systems, the perpendicular parking system prefers to slot you between two cars rather than in the middle of a bank of unused bays. It’s like parking in an empty car park to find someone parked next to you when you return.
Once auto parking is underway, as with most cars, you must select drive or reverse gear as instructed. Some modern cars, including the new Chinese XPeng EV, will automatically select the gears, so you just need to keep your wits about you as the car twiddles the wheel and moves back and forth to perfectly enter the space. That car, also, will recognise bays from the lines rather than the presence of other cars. Clearly, we have a long way to go in driving automation.
6.Automatic driving systems
The I-Pace HSE comes with a full house of driving aids which I have come to rely on and appreciate. The blind-spot warning is an essential safety tool, with approaching cars shown as a yellow icon in the door mirrors. If enabled, the system will warn and then automatically steer the car back into its lane when an overtaking (or under-taking, despite being illegal in the UK) vehicle is spotted.
Adaptive cruise control is now something that I regard as essential. The Jaguar’s implementation is well thought out, although it is a long way from what is known as autonomous driving. I’m not so sure I ever want to rely entirely on a computer when my driving licence and life are on the line.
But adaptive cruise control and lane-keep help remove all the stress from the older dumb cruise systems. When fully enabled (you can turn it off or change the parameters as you wish) the car will follow the vehicle in front at an agreed distance. If you get stuck behind a slow car refusing to move over, it’s a simple matter of moving out and accelerating to overtake, with the car returning to the previous set speed when the coast is clear. Motorway driving using adaptive cruise is far more pleasant a causes less stress than the previous semi-autonomous systems.
The Jaguar will also steer automatically, something which at the moment is intended mainly for use on multi-lane highways. With full systems enabled, the car will keep to the centre of the lane and will cope with the sort of bends encountered on a motorway. Veering from the lane causes a warning and/or correction.
Of course, you must keep alert with your hands on the wheel at all times, both by law and the rules of common sense. The system expects to sense mild resistance from your hands or it will sound a warning and turn off. Unlike some other manufacturers’ systems, the Jaguar auto steer does not perform automatic lane changes at the behest of the turn indicator.
The system allows the car to followlanes accurately, although sometimes it gets confused when navigating the outer motorway lane if the white line next to the central reservation is absent or unclear. Some other systems are less likely to lose their bearings in this manner from what I’ve read, but I’m happy enough with the Jaguar set up. After all, any system should be seen as an aid rather than a substitute for driver awareness.
As with all semi-autonomous driving systems, bad weather conditions can result in returning control to the driver. Sensors and cameras can become obstructed, although the radar is still capable of detecting obstructions ahead.
With speed limit recognition, you can also use the speed limiter which automatically restricts the speed to the limit. It’s possible to set a higher speed (for instance, speed limit plus X miles per hour) if you want a bit of flexibility. However, a percentage excess would be more sensible. The speed limiting function, as with similar systems on other cars, feels a bit wooden and acceleration appears to be reined in slightly. Extra pressure on the accelerator will override the setting in emergency. Switch the limiter off, though, and you can set up the system to produce a warning bong when you reach your pre-set speed.
The Jaguar does a good job of recognising speed limits, either by reading the signs or using GPS information. It can get caught out when, as often happens, a feeder road with a lower limit runs in parallel to the highway. The car can suddenly slow down, but this is easy to spot and correct. These are all sensible aids and they work well most of the time; but they are no substitute for keeping your wits about you at all times.
In conclusion, I believe Jaguar’s driver aids are particularly well implemented. Auto cruising is relaxing and accurate, except in conditions outlined above, and it is something I have come to rely on (while keeping my wits polished, of course).
There is a lot to say about charging because, after all, it is the one big question that everyone asks when considering an electric vehicle. It is absolutely fundamental to the effectiveness of the car.
The charging infrastructure is something you don’t think much about until you buy an EV. You soon find that recharging while on long journeys can be stressful. It’s not so much range angst as charger angst.
Essentially, when it comes to ease of charging there are just two types of electric cars: Teslas and the rest. The Jaguar belongs to the latter category.
Charger angst is common in the United Kingdom where facilities at most motorway stations have not improved materially since I ran a Nissan Leaf six years ago. They were bad then; they are bad now. The only difference is that there are many more EVs to compete for the available chargers.
Ecotricity (also known as “the Electric Highway”) appears to have something of a monopoly and provides typically two chargers at every motorway service area. Until recently, their maximum loading speed was 50 kWh. Faster chargers are now being introduced, although I haven’t yet found any. With just two chargers at most motorway services, it’s very much hit or miss whether you can find a vacant slot. And, even then, my experience is that Ecotricity chargers are often out of service.
I am astounded that the Government, which indirectly controls the service areas on motorways, permits this state of affairs to continue. All you need do is look across to the Tesla park where you will see 16 or 18 Superchargers for one make of car compared with two rather mediocre offerings for everyone else.
As a result, I’ve tended to seek off-motorway charging. It’s no great hardship and, often, it’s a relief to get away from the overcrowded on-motorway service areas. In the last twelve months, the number of fast-charging stations has increased noticeably while facilities at the motorway services remain in a five-year-old timewarp.
Two companies stand out for efficiency and rapid charging in my book. InstaVolt is my favourite, and they now have a good range of dedicated Tesla-style parks just off the main motorways, usually with an adjacent cafe or fast-food outlet. The new facility at Banbury, off the M40, is a good example as you will see from the photographs.
The Ionity consortium, designed mainly for Porsche, Mercedes and other German marques, also provides impressive charging areas, almost up to Tesla standards. However, the cost of up to 69p per kWh for the fastest chargers (unless you are on a subscription with one of the consortium’s manufacturers), is actually higher than buying diesel or petrol. Nevertheless, I’d pay through the nose for the convenience on the odd occasion I can’t find anything better. It all comes out in the wash, what with at least 95% of my refuelling being done at home.
Sadly, the vast majority of public chargers which make up the totals bandied about by Government and EV manufacturers are slow 7.5 to 22 kWh devices which are euphemistically designated as “fast”. I have a 7.5 kWh “fast” charger at home, and it takes ten hours to fill the car from zero, so don’t be misled. These chargers are fine for supermarket car parks where you can top up free while shopping, but no help to the long-distance driver. If you seek 50 kWh-plus “rapid” chargers, the number is surprisingly small. High-speed chargers (“ultra-rapid”) of 100 kWh and over are even thinner on the ground.
The Jaguar has another disadvantage in that its maximum charging speed is limited to 100 kWh. That’s through the combined CSS connector available at high-speed facilities.
The Mennekes Type 2 connector, which is common on slower chargers, including home units, is limited to delivering 7.5 kWh on the 2019 Jaguar (and 11 kWh on the 2021 model range). You’ll find, then, that 11 and 22 kWh chargers deliver only 7.5 kWh to the pre-2021 I-Pace. It’s thus a choice between slow and fairly useless 7.5 kWh and 50-plus kWh that you need when travelling longer distances. The 2021 I-Pace will accept 11 kWh maximum through the Type 2 plug.
Even 100 kWh isn’t super fast these days, although it probably was considered so when the car was on the design board. In stark contrast, the Porsche Taycan charges at up to 350 kWh and the Audi E-tron at 150. All these factors impact on the time you spend at the pumps. Charge times make a big difference when calculating how long you have to dally over your coffee and muffin.
Another major problem is the plethora of different companies offering charging services. Most require a separate card, phone application or PIN. The British Government has now mandated the offering of credit card payment options, and the situation will improve over the next twelve months. It’s not before time.
Throughout my Jaguar ownership, I’ve had a wallet stuffed with cards and still come across chargers that need registration to a new and unknown system. It is very inconvenient, frustrating and inexcusable in the light of the policy of most governments to encourage EVs. And since most of these chargers are unprotected from the elements, fiddling with cards and apps on a rainy evening is no fun.
Customers of some manufacturers, notably those in the Ionity consortium, can access their chargers easily with a central payment system. Still, there is an annual subscription that can be pretty hefty.
We can all dream and look forward to a situation where you plug in, and your car is recognised automatically, with your account being charged on completion. One company, Tesla, can do this. So why is the rest of the market such a mess?
When it comes to electric vehicles, you have to admire Musk’s resolve ten years ago to put the infrastructure first. He built the chargers; then he sold the cars. As a pioneer, he knew that the cars wouldn’t sell if people couldn’t charge them. It’s a pity other manufacturers were not as far-sighted.
Home charging is a different matter. And that’s why I have not felt disadvantaged by the relatively sparse public charging infrastructure. The 7.5 kWh home device on my drive is now six years old, but it has coped with the Leaf, the Jaguar and, I suspect, any future BEV I choose to buy.
My charger is dumb in the sense that you can’t set charging times (for instance, to take advantage of night-time off-peak rates). Some more modern units have remote apps allowing charging times to be specified.
Unfortunately, the Jaguar itself cannot be told when to charge. It starts as soon as you plug it in. Other cars do have the ability to set charging times, and it’s something to consider when buying (or install a charger that can be controlled).
Even so, the overnight charging system means that I can always leave home in the mornings with a full 230 to 250 miles under the bonnet. If you analyse your motoring, you will probably find, as I did, that this is enough to cover some 95% of your annual motoring. This is the real beauty of an EV. No more visits to messy forecourts every few hundred miles and no need to refuel away from home unless you’re tackling a longer journey.
Charging is, therefore, a mixed bag, but the infrastructure continues to improve all the time and you need to work out how often you would need to top up when out and about. Probably not that often, as I found out.
8.Range and economy
Alongside charging, range is the other question usually posed when discussing electric cars.
The Jaguar has a 90 kWh battery and an official range of 298 miles. However, all such “official figures” you will see quoted are based on a standard test at relatively modest speeds (56 mph on the highway, for instance, and in a controlled environment) and are not indicative of the range you or I could achieve out in the real world.
My car is fairly typical from what I have read in various tests and on the forums. In the summer, after a full charge, I can see up to 250 miles of range.
In the winter this comes down to around 230 miles. It could be less if you live in a colder climate. The car is fitted with 20in wheels and, if it had had the 18in wheels, the range would have increased by up to eight per cent.
Jaguar provides a useful range calculator which you can find here. You can change the wheels, set the ambient temperature and choose the driving style to find out how far you would be able to drive on a charge.
Those who choose the even larger 22in wheels, either for cosmetic or handling reasons, will lose even more range. Jaguar’s predicted figure comes then comes down to 225 miles.
Nonetheless, 230-250 of range, based on a mixture of driving, is quite respectable for an electric car of this size. I regularly achieve this range in general motoring. The Jaguar is one of the better in range performers, soundly beating Mercedes, Porsche and Audi in real-world driving. However, as with all EVs, sustained highway cruising at 70 or 75 mph will eat into any predicted range. On longer trips at a cruising speed of 70 mph, the realistic driving distance comes down to about 190 miles in the Jaguar’s case.
It’s another issue when it comes to efficiency. Despite the large battery, the I-Pace is one of the least efficient large BEVs. I have averaged about 375 watts per mile, which is some 30 per cent more than, say, a Tesla Model 3 Long Range or a Hyundai Kona. The Tesla travels further on a full charge of its 60 kWh battery than the Jaguar with its 90 kWh battery.
When buying an electric car, it’s easy to overlook efficiency, perhaps because all electric cars are very efficient compared with ICEs. Over 7,000 or 10,000 miles, it’s not a big deal, but the Jaguar is a bit of a watt-guzzler by any standards.
It takes some getting used to talking about watts per mile, but this seems to be the accepted form of measurement. In round terms, the Jaguar achieves up to three miles on a kilowatt of electricity, usually referred to as a unit. One unit’s average cost is 16.3 pence in the UK, although I pay 14 pence through the smart energy provider, Octopus. I am about to sign up for a special tariff which will give me three hours of night-time charging for 5p a unit, more than sufficient to keep my car full and ready for the off.
If you are in Britain and thinking of changing energy suppliers, here’s a Macfilos referral link to Octopus: share.octopus.energy/pink-zebra-525
Using this referral bags you £50 off your first bill and Macfilos also receives an equivalent donation to help with the running costs. Thanks in advance!
Drive the Jaguar for 100 miles, and you will need about 33 units which will cost from £1.65 to £5.40 depending on your home tariff and use of off-peak charging. When on the road, and using public charging, the typical cost is 30p-35p per unit. A 100-mile trip would cost just under £10. The outrageously expensive Ionity network will set you back 69p per unit (unless you have a subscription through one of the participating manufacturers; Jaguar isn’t one).
That 100-mile journey powered by Ionity would cost £23, considerably more than the outlay for petrol or diesel. A gallon of petrol costs about £5.40 at current prices (note that the UK gallon, equivalent to 4.56 litres, is larger than the US gallon of 3.785 litres, so direct comparisons are difficult). At 40mpg, a petrol car would run to about £13.50 for that typical 100-mile journey. Mind you, that’s £10 cheaper than Ionity would charge you.
Unlike a petrol or diesel car, however, the range comes with one big proviso. It’s unwise to run an EV down to less than 20% charge unless you are sure of where you can re-charge (such as getting home where you have an ever-ready charger).
Drivers of traditional vehicles occasionally run the tank down to zero with the knowledge there are another 30 or 40 miles in reserve. With EVs, there is no reserve, other than the one you work out for yourself.
Therefore, on long distances, you tend always to keep 15-20% of the range as a reserve. With 230 or 250 nominal miles “in the tank”, the reality is that you can drive only 185-200 before range angst sets in. The ICE driver has another advantage. He knows that if he runs on to reserve, he can find fuel nearby. Not so with EVs, you need to plan.
If all this sounds daunting, it shouldn’t be. Once you get the hang of it, living with a car such as the I-Pace is easy. Range angst disappears with a bit of pre-planning.
These are considerations that come as second nature once you own an electric car. The outstanding feature is that the car is always full every morning. But economy is also important, with EVs costing around a third to a quarter of the fuel used by a diesel or petrol driver.
This won’t always be the same, of course. Once our governments have persuaded us all to switch to EVs, they will notice the loss of revenue on fuel duty and road taxes. Electricity for vehicles will be taxed just as heavily as fossil fuel, and we will certainly need separate meters to charge our cars. Enjoy it while it lasts.
Then there’s convenience, the fact that you need to stop more frequently and that charging takes longer than filling a tank with fuel. However, when tackling longer journeys, a recharge stop every couple of hundred miles is fine by me. Sure, it takes longer to fill the tank than it does with an ICE car, but I’m always ready for a snack and a drink well before I’ve done 200 miles.
I admit it’s a different matter for people who routinely travel long distances, especially on business. I’m retired, after all, and have lots of time when I’m not editing Macfilos. The electric car is not for habitual long-distance motorists—unless it happens to be a Tesla with both a longer range and a plentiful supply of charging stations.
What about depreciation? Five years ago, depreciation was an issue with early electric cars. Potential used-car buyers worried about the threat of battery replacement being needed. Those early Nissan Leafs were on a rapid slide to zero value.
Such worries seem to have disappeared. Manufacturers warrant the battery pack for a long period (the Jaguar’s for eight years or 100,000 miles). There is now less reluctance to buy second-hand EVs, thus reducing depreciation. It’s quite likely, too, that battery packs will become much cheaper by the time cars sold now have reached eight years old.
In fact, things have come full circle, with EVs now commanding higher prices because so many people who could never afford to buy a new car are waiting in the wings to jump onto the EV bandwagon with a used vehicle. There must be a huge pent-up demand for lower-priced EVs.
I do not think depreciation is such a big issue any more. Teslas, which have been on the market for eight years, have turned out to be low depreciators compared with similar ICE vehicles. I have no experience of the Jaguar’s resale values, but they were pretty robust when I last checked about three months ago.
Of course, I bought my car secondhand after nine months at a price of about 65% of the new value. So I have a lot less to lose than the original owner did. Buying a one-year-old EV is a smart move, as it is with most cars irrespective of the fuel. When I think back, I haven’t bought a new car in the past 25 years. Instead, I’ve had nearly new and all the benefits of a factory-fresh car. The Germans call such cars Jahreswagen, literally “one-year-old cars”, and they make a lot more sense than buying new.
The Jaguar has been generally reliable over the 7,000 miles I drove in 2020. Nothing major has fallen off or broken, and I have never been let down on the road. The power train hasn’t missed a beat. With so few moving parts, electric motor faults are far less likely to need attention than complex petrol or diesel engines. Any problems, if they do occur, are easier to repair.
Furthermore, electric motors have a longer life than the internal combustion engine. Already we have examples of cars running for several hundred thousand miles without needing motor replacement. Suggestions of a life of one million miles have been made, although that remains to be seen.
With an ICE, the characteristics of the motor is not a big topic of conversation among enthusiasts. Is it smooth, or does it vibrate like an old tin can? Is it quiet? How is the acceleration? All these questions are redundant with EVs. I haven’t given a single thought to the motors; they get on with the job in near silence. I certainly haven’t even seen them.
The only problems on my I-Pace have been peculiar to the area of the charging port. On two occasions I had difficulty pulling out the charging plug, despite juggling the car lock several times. Fortunately, there is a wire pull under the bonnet which releases the port lock. Unfortunately, on the other hand, when I pulled it the second or third time, the entire emergency release cable came away in my hands. That required a visit to the dealer. Once, the door to the charging port wouldn’t open when pressed. And once the car wouldn’t charge.
In all these cases, the very efficient Jaguar Assist came to my home and sorted things out in no time. Charging issues were solved with a software update, and the sticking charge-port door was released and greased. I can’t speak too highly for the at-home services provided by Jaguar Assist, which is run by the Automobile Association.
The I-Pace is a great electric car, achieving World Car of the Year and World Car Design of the Year status in 2019. It was designed from the go as an EV and isn’t an adaption of a petrol or diesel car as are many competitors. It has blistering performance, excellent handling (for an SUV) and is comfortable and safe. Above all, it is a car to attract drivers who like driving.
Apart from the charging port issues (which I assume have long-since been rectified on the production line), the Jaguar has been a reliable and faithful companion during a difficult year.
Nevertheless, thanks to so many months lost to lockdowns, the mileage of 7,000 is actually quite high. I’m not using a car every day even in normal times, but I have enjoyed the Jaguar so much that I made excuses to go out just for the fun of it. If I’d had free rein, unhindered by Covid, I could well have notched up 12,000 miles, creating a record for me since retirement.
If you want a luxury car with impeccable manners and great design, then the Jaguar is one of the best EVs out there. In common with all other manufacturers except Tesla, the Jaguar is let down by the national charging network and by the lack of a universal payment method.
All this will change, and soon. I suspect that within a year, the experience of driving a Jaguar will be as painless and transparent as driving a Tesla is today. In the meantime, you can enjoy some fabulous motoring.
This car provides an almost irresistible overall package. It is so satisfying to own that many drivers will overcome their concerns over the current charging infrastructure’s limitations.
Nothing I have experienced in the past year has changed my mind about electric cars in general. I prefer driving them to ICE cars, and I cannot envisage ever returning to petrol or diesel. Living in a large city such as London, the EV makes tremendous sense. There is every reason to use electricity with congestion levies in central London and new low-emission-zone charges extending to the outer peripheral M25.
Pleased as I have been with the Jaguar, I never keep cars very long, and I am thinking of moving on. I fancy a change, ready for what I hope will be a year of road freedom. A new challenge for a new year. But one thing is certain: It will be powered by electricity. I am fully converted. And you know what they say about converts.