In less than two months from now, EV fans will be able to see the 2019 Jaguar I-Pace S at dealer showrooms across the United States. At 2 tons, the all-electric Jag is literally a heavyweight, but can it strike at the heart of the huge lead that Tesla has built in the small to medium luxury EV market in its home ground and around the globe?
Here are some of the I-Pace’s specs:
Range – Up to 240 miles on a single charge
Passenger capacity – 5
Base MSRP – $69,500
Battery – 90 kWh
Charge Time – 10.1 hours (0-80%) / 12.9 hours (0-100%)/ 85 mins (DC 50 kW – 0-80%)
Power and Torque – 394 hp and 512 lb. ft.
Top Speed – 124 mph
Acceleration Time (0-60 mph) – 4.5 seconds
Curb (Kerb) Weight – 4,784 lbs | ~2170 kilograms (2.39 U.S. tons / 2.17 metric tonnes)
Now that’s a heavy car! It basically means Jaguar has traded off weight and speed in favor of range, which is relevant when you compare it to any Tesla EV – not that easy to do because of the mixed bag of specs.
From a form factor viewpoint, the Model X is a good comparison. Pricing is fairly similar, although the Model X base variant is a little more expensive when you take out the tax credits and other benefits. Performance is almost neck-and-neck: range of 237 miles, top speed of 130 mph and acceleration time of 4.9 seconds.
I’m almost tempted to say that the I-Pace could give the Model X a run for its money. Besides, it’s a Jaguar, and that will hold a lot of weight with an EV buyer willing to shell out $60,000 or more for a new car. On the downside, Jaguar hasn’t really proven itself as an EV maker, so Tesla retains that advantage.
The Jaguar I-Pace S could also be compared to the Model S 75D AWD, which has a base MSRP of $74,000. Performance-wise, however, the 75D outdoes it in range (259 miles EPA), speed (140 mph), acceleration (4.2 seconds) and battery (75 kWh.)
If you look at the top-end Model 3, the case for the Jaguar I-Pace S becomes even hazier. The Model 3 Performance has a starting price of only $64,000, but it beats the I-Pace in range (310 miles), speed (155 mph), acceleration (3.5 seconds) and rear visibility, although the Model S and Model X have been slammed by users for being terrible in that respect.
However, the rear-facing camera and the large touchscreen make up for it in Tesla EVs, and Jaguar hasn’t compromised on that front with the I-Pace. Dual touchscreens (10″ and 5.5″ – TOUCH PRO® DUO) provide all the visibility you need, and the car’s driver assist and safety systems are second to none.
One of the key features of any EV is the sound level inside the car. Because there’s no loud ICE to cover up anything, the fit and finish needs to be tight and rattle-free. Tesla has performed well on that front, but Jaguar has a lot more design and manufacturing experience so buyers will be ruthless about this point. One test drive revealed that the cupholder was rattling a little, and it was amplified by the hushed silence inside the car where you’re supposed to hear little more than the muted sound of the tire on the road.
Overall, we think people will only buy the I-Pace because it’s a Jaguar. As such, it’s a status symbol more than anything. It’s a good price point, but that doesn’t necessarily give it a significant advantage over any of Tesla’s EVs, including the Model S. It’s not a Tesla rival if you look at it from a cold and objective features and performance perspective, but we think it will get a decent following simply because it’s a well-made Jaguar that does everything that a Jaguar can and should. In the final assessment – and to answer the titular question – no, the Jaguar I-Pace can’t strike down the Tesla advantage without some serious improvements on the battery and performance front, which we doubt will happen in the short term.