► CAR lives with an i-Pace
► Editor-in-chief Phil Mc is your guide
► Can the e-Jag settle into daily life?
Diary update: towing bicycles with our Jaguar i-Pace
Borrowed editor-in-chief Phil McNamara's i-Pace for a weekend away (pre-lockdown, before I get told off!) and got the chance to test its family creds by ferrying children and bicycles around.
There's good news here: ours has Jaguar's own electrically retractable towbar fitted, which stows away hidden in the rear bumper when not needed. But at the touch of a button in the boot, it swings down into position, ready to tow. My Thule bike carrier plugs straight into the 13-pin electrics and all the lights and indicators sync seamlessly with the Jag's electrics. Job done.
It felt no different to drive and is proof - were it needed - that you can do normal everyday stuff with electric cars. It felt even more appropriate to arrive at Rutland Water (pictured above) in a saintly EV for our zero-emissions bike ride.
I'm planning some longer trips in the Jag i-Pace, so will report back on battery range soon. On this short local trip, the addition of a bike carrier had no meaningful impact on the electric range.
By Tim Pollard
Month 1 of our Jaguar i-Pace long-term test: the introduction
So this is it: my immersion into full electric motoring starts here, with this Jaguar i-Pace. No armbands, just in at the deep end. Or shall we liken that to my house, 65 miles from the office, and currently devoid of wallbox. The shallow end is CAR HQ, with a row of 10 restorative chargers, and a mere smattering of plug-in hybrids and full EVs to suckle on them.
To make matters a little more interesting as I make my inaugural walk to the Caesium Blue hatchback, I can see a cloud of my breath forming. This experiment will span winter's toughest months – how will that impact the 292-mile maximum range of the lightest i-Pace? The blue is the best i-Pace colour, as vibrant and eye-catching as Photon Red, but classier. Both are £700 options.
Darkness has fallen but the monolithic 22-inch rims shimmer, their split V-shaped design reminding me of vultures in flight. Costly at £2900, but i-Paces on the standard 18s look severely under-wheeled. I'll probably spend the same again on alloy repairs given the slender rubber.
Open the door and the Jaguar leaper dances on the central digital screen, while the digital instrument binnacle announces its fully charged range, my very own Oscars' Best Picture moment of suspense. The number of the beast is 259 miles. That's pretty much the quoted range for the heaviest, most luxurious i-Pace – of which OW19 TKF is a kindred spirit.
The i-Pace's base price is £64,4995 (though the government's plug-in car grant will chop £3000 off that), but this example has a whopping £16k of options. I drop into the costliest one, the 14-way adjustable heated and cooled Performance seats. Finished in tan leather, they're a beautiful shape, curved around the shoulders, slender in depth and unyieldingly firm.
Press start, then D and off the i-Pace glides, with that understated, ascending electric car whine. Swing the wheel and the brilliance of the electric Jag's steering comes flooding back. Meaty but not onerous, direct but not flighty, it makes every corner a delight. Turn-in can be enhanced by the standard all-wheel drive system, with torque vectoring to manage the torque flow at each corner – sometimes you feel the outer wheel spooling up to push the nose in.
The binnacle states 2˚C, and I get my first pang of range anxiety. Not that I fear I won't get home, but because I'd like to get back again tomorrow. I put the air-con on auto, but eschew the rear screen demister. I accept the 90kWh battery pack will take some warming, but get a shock when 13 miles of range vanish upon leaving the car park.
The ride is pretty comfortable considering we're rolling on elegant tractor wheels. Sure it feels more tense than my outgoing Citroën C5 Aircross's, bucking more noticeably over expansion joints but it's not abrupt. There are electronically controlled air springs at each corner, an £1100 option.
The £900 head-up display glows in the windscreen, while amber light streaks are visible overhead through the £960 glass roof. When traffic occasionally thins, the automated matrix LED lights go up a gear in intensity – the jury's out on whether that's £1850 well spent.
I swipe left on the central screen, to access the EV menu. Tap the brake discs icon and you can switch from mild to max regeneration when you lift: it's reassuringly aggressive, which I hope translates into prodigious battery TLC.
Jump on the other pedal and the i-Pace takes off in that distinctively electric car way: from perambulating to punching holes in the horizon, as instantly as a click of impatient fingers. The electric motors, one per axle, each spin out 197bhp.
But that performance is for another day: I accelerate steadily up to the speed limit, then adhere resolutely to it. The £1350 Drive pack, with blind-spot monitoring, automated emergency braking and crucially adaptive cruise control is my ally. The stop and go system is not too edgy, taking its time before slowing the car for traffic ahead.
Good job too, because having to pile speed back on is the enemy of range. So I'm keen to carry as much momentum as is prudent into roundabouts and corners, where the i-Pace just feels mighty. Swing the steering wheel, hold the throttle and the tyres just bite, scything the car through the apex, helped by those low-set batteries dropping the centre of gravity. The handling defies the 2.2-tonne heft.
I arrive home. My destination for tonight, but 'the start of a journey' in the parlance of Love Island contestants and clunking sports stars. It's a journey to find my true inner power source (electric or combustion?), overcome adversity and triumph against the odds – or I'll potentially settle for never running out of charge, thank you.
The binnacle says 151 miles, and 58% of the battery, remain. Looks like tomorrow's going to be an office day after all. I think I'm going to absolutely love this car...
By Phil McNamara
Our i-Pace's style details: how we've specced it
Turn on the matrix: £1850
The i-Pace S comes as standard with LED headlights, but you can add 'signature' daytime-running lights for £1100 or upgrade to our matrix LED lights, which selectively dip the light cone so you can maintain full beam without dazzling oncoming traffic. They're £1850, or £950 on the SE.
Two little ducks, 22: £2900
Standard 18-inch wheels help maximise range, but look weedy. We drove the cars on 20-inch wheels at the launch, a good compromise but one that miffed former design boss Ian Callum. This time our car goes full Callum on 22s, a punchy £2900 extra.
Heated, very cool: £3940
The biggest chunk of our £16k option spend goes on heated and cooled 14-way adjustable Performance seats lifted from the F-type. They're firmer than the comfort-focussed standard chairs, but sexier and hold you better.
By Phil McNamara
Logbook: Jaguar i-Pace S
Price £64,995 (£80,980 as tested)
Performance 90kWh battery, two e-motors, 395bhp, 4.8sec 0-62mph, 124mph
Efficiency 2.5 miles per kWh (official), 2.1 miles per kWh (tested), 0g/km CO2
Energy cost 6.4p per mile
Miles this month 1420
Total miles 6775