Jaguar ignited the 2016 LA Auto Show with the virtual reality debut of the I-PACE Concept, the market’s first all-electric performance SUV. And, to generate as much excitement as possible, the minds behind the I-PACE made it clear this concept vehicle was not some far-fetched projection of the future. It’s rolling off assembly lines in 2018.
During a special Monday preview event that got a jump on the official LA Auto Show festivities, Jaguar used “cutting edge technology” to reveal its latest in “four-wheeled technology.” Journalists gathered from connection points around the world to inspect and explore the car in virtual reality before it showed up “in the flesh.”
It’s a bit misleading to call the I-PACE a concept vehicle. Most such publicity-generating would-be cars never come into existence in the form presented at auto shows. They’re on the scene to show off a company potential and vision. But, the I-PACE will arrive in 2018 more or less as you’re seeing it here.
Using two electric engines, the I-PACE does 0-60 mph in an unofficial four seconds. Its multi-unit 90 kWh battery promises a range of about 220 miles before fully charging within around 90 minutes. Final speed and range numbers will lock down before the car’s release in 2018.
Like the highly successful F-Pace crossover, the I-PACE is a luxury performance ride with the ability to take on some off-pavement terrain. The SUV’s all-wheel-drive generates 400 horsepower, while the machine rides atop similar suspension to the superb F-Pace. There’s no official word yet on the I-PACE’s introduction delivery price or its official release date in 2018.
All of that engineering and electrified tech might be what makes the I-PACE international news, but what makes it desirable in the automotive world is its styling. The SUV proves with resounding success that an electric vehicle can look spectacular — as or more aesthetically appealing than any traditional gasoline-powered machine. It balances delicate flowing lines with an aggressive stature. While clearly futuristic, the grille and backend are clearly classic Jaguar. You could argue its shape leans more toward large crossover than SUV, but it’s a hot design regardless.
There is an automaker or two out there establishing themselves on the wave of electric cars who desperately need to take notes on styling from Jaguar’s first entry in the market. The Chevrolet Volt will win awards around the world for extending electric vehicle range into practical distances, but no one turns their head when one passes. The undercooked dull styling of Tesla lazes on company’s cultish media popularity. Jaguar built a high-performance electric machine that buyers will pursue just to be seen sitting in it.
Those buyers who can’t wait for that driver’s seat can jump into the queue immediately by visiting Jaguar’s website and its I Want One page. From there, well-heeled lovers of Benjamin Franklin’s kite can put their name in as an I-PACE first adopter.