The first all-electric Jaguar is currently an endangered species
The Jaguar I-Pace, launched four years ago, remains one of the best electric vehicles to drive, but remains the company’s only fully electric car. What’s next for Jaguar?
The electric Jaguar I-Pace has now been on sale for four years, and the design itself was likely signed off sometime in 2016. Due to the nature of electric vehicles, upgrades and upgrades can often be delivered “through terrestrial”, updating the software, adding new services and reorganizing the systems that manage the battery to obtain more autonomy and performance.
That’s why Tesla’s Model S has been around for ten years and doesn’t seem likely to be replaced any time soon. The most recent update to the I-Pace was the addition of Amazon Alexa earlier this year, as part of an upgrade for all JLR models fitted with the latest infotainment systems. Bringing in an established personal assistant like Alexa is a no-brainer for a relatively small company like Jaguar, which doesn’t have the resources to build its own AI from scratch, let alone maintain it.
In-car conversations aside, does the I-Pace still have what it takes? The answer is a qualified yes’. The headline numbers – a theoretical maximum range of 292 miles (think 220 instead in practice) and a quick 4.5-second 0-60mph time – give the I-Pace the right mix of practicality and fun. It’s definitely a car you can use every day without any problems, and remains one of the best electric vehicles to drive, with excellent balance and feedback that belies its size and weight.
The design, overseen in the days of Ian Callum, still looks great. The shapes and proportions were directly influenced by the freedom of the EV platform underneath, with a long wheelbase, short bonnet and stubby tail allowing for a massive passenger compartment. The dash is simple and intuitive, and there are no shoehorn-like ‘heritage’ design cues.
Jaguar has an unsinkable heritage, a history that carries with it a wave of goodwill and loyal fans. As with so many legacy brands, these longtime admirers tend to be loud, protective and outspoken. The I-Pace was seen as a successful attempt to translate that passion into a product that new customers actually wanted to buy.
However, it was not all easy. Somewhere deep within Jaguar’s design and engineering center in Gaydon, Warwickshire, lies a fully approved model of an all-electric Jaguar XF, a car that was cruelly pulled from the market just months after its launch. launch.
At one point, the new XJ was deemed unworthy of the brand’s renewed focus on premium design and quality. The official reasons given for the U-turn – which cost the company several hundred million pounds – were that it was unrelated to the brand’s ‘change of course’. Such a rapid shift in a slowly changing industry has unsurprisingly been detrimental, both to the company’s bottom line and to its image. It’s unclear if the XJ couldn’t cut it in terms of design, quality or performance (the latter being the most likely).
As he unplugged the XJ, new Jaguar CEO Thierry Bolloré also announced that there would be an all-electric range by 2025. No doubt the sums were made and the numbers squeezed before this no decision was made, but to outsiders, it all seemed a bit reckless. With precisely one electric vehicle in production, Jaguar is still relying on SUV sales of the F-Pace and E-Pace, both available as plug-in hybrids. There’s no such sophistication from its pair of hatchbacks, the XE and XF, two beautiful, capable cars that have been left behind by the pace of change. The F-Type sports car remains the company’s biggest nod to its sporting history, but it’s somewhat of an outlier in terms of platform, balance and purpose.
Alongside the electric XF, the J-Pace was sacrificed, a premium SUV designed as a riposte to Porsche’s successful Cayenne range. As top-level Land-Rover product launches have continued at a rapid pace over the past few years, outsiders would be forgiven for thinking that the old British nameplate had been somewhat shelved by Indian owners. by JLR, Tata. Automakers are a bit like giant tankers; transforming them requires an enormous amount of pre-planning and foresight. If you get it wrong, you risk running aground, leaving you with a disaster that can take decades to clean up.
This is why strategy is so important. Planning, designing and manufacturing a car involves lining up subcontractors and production centers, fixing shapes, materials and technology several years in advance, then working with dealers and marketers to evaluate demand and stimulate a new desire.
In automotive terms, the Jaguar I-Pace is now something of a veteran. What the company desperately needs is a new product that makes the I-Pace look like an old hat. Right now, Jaguar is presumably shaping those cars around an all-new electric platform, announced in February and called ‘Panthera’. He recently cleaned up his Instagram page of past images, ready for a fresh start. There’s a lot of speculation going on, such as a suggestion that Jaguar wants to compete with Bentley, with lower volumes and higher prices. It’s even been rumored that the newly electrified company might not have a dedicated sports car, at least to start with.
Whatever happens, Jaguar’s former German rivals are already well on their way down this uncharted path. The company will also have to deal with a host of new American and Chinese brands, as well as revitalized and repositioned names like Lotus, whose Eletre “hyper SUV” will be firmly established in the market in 2025. before Jaguar will have to be something really special for the company to avoid extinction. §