The biggest news in the EV space over the last few months has been the launch of the Jaguar I-PACE, the first electric car from Jaguar Land-Rover. We saw it for the first time 'in the flesh' at the Fully Charged Live show and rather liked the look of it.
It was recently provided to journalists for test drives so there has been a sudden slew of I-PACE reviews appearing in the press:
- AutoExpress: New Jaguar i-PACE 2018 Review
- WhatCar: I-Pace Review
- AutoCar: Jaguar I-Pace EV400 S 2018 review
- Top Gear: Jaguar steps bravely into the unknown and nails it
- CNET: 2019 Jaguar I-Pace first drive review: This cat will hunt
It has come as no great surprise that it is continually being compared to Tesla's established electric cars, the Model S saloon and Model X SUV. While it is an SUV (4 wheel drive as standard, high driving position) it's actually not a close match to the X as it's significantly smaller, and arguably in terms of interior space is even smaller than the S.
None of this, however, stops reviewers making the comparison, and in many cases one could argue they tend towards hyperbole - or is that just 'clickbait' to get more readers?:
- AutoExpress: "Jaguar has succeeded in not only creating the best electric car on sale but perhaps one of the most exciting cars you can buy. From the way it looks to the way it drives the I-Pace is a real game changer for Jaguar and electric cars overall."
- AutoCar: "But if [an electric car can fit in your life], make no mistake: you’re looking at the best of them."
- CNET: "I've been fortunate enough to drive every production model that Tesla has ever produced and, in terms of interior quality and overall driving refinement, Jag's new EV has them all licked. I think it's better looking, too."
In reality, of course, the I-PACE and Teslas both have their good points and specialties. Here's a brief touch on some of them:
- Tesla has the edge in range, if you pay more for the the 100kWh battery versions. The I-PACE has only one battery size: 90kWh. Similarly, you have a choice of performance options with the Teslas whereas only a single I-PACE model is currently available to order.
- The Teslas have space-age interior, with nearly all functions available on a large touchscreen. The I-PACE retains a lot of conventional buttons and knobs. Which is best is probably down to personal preference.
- Tesla provides its drivers with supercharger stations around the UK and Europe for rapid charging while Jaguar has nothing similar - not even in the pipeline, as far as one can tell. For now I-PACE owners will have to join the rest of us at Ecotricity rapid chargers on the motorway when needing to go long distances.
Overall, therefore, I personally think that Tesla is still ahead, with a better choice of higher performing cars, and with an impressive Supercharger infrastructure. However, given we are just at the launch of the I-PACE the gap is not as big as we might have expected, and we can hope that Jaguar works hard to improve its offering over time.
The fact remains, though, that Jaguar has produced a very impressive and interesting vehicle from the start, a new take on the electric SUV - and perhaps one that is the 'right' size for the European market. They deserve their moment in the sun, ahead of the competitors coming down the line from Porsche, Audi, BMW and the others.