Jaguar Reveals Its First-Ever Electric Vehicle, An SUV Called The I-PACE

Jaguar is the latest car company to place its bets on an electric future.

The I-PACE concept Jaguar revealed Monday night is a five-passenger SUV that can travel about 220 miles on a battery charge and challenge the only other electric SUV on the market: the Tesla Model X.

“The opportunities offered by an electric powertrain are huge,” Ian Callum, Jaguar’s director of design, said in a statement. “Electric vehicles offer designers much greater freedom, and it is an opportunity we must grasp.”

 

The concept looks more like a sporty coupe than an SUV, with the placement of its electric drive system allowing for more interior space while creating a smaller footprint overall.

The I-PACE follows Jaguar’s successful introduction of its first-ever SUV, the F-Pace, earlier this year. The F-PACE, which became the brand’s bestseller as soon as it went on sale in May, and helped Jaguar become the fastest-growing automaker in 2016, increasing sales 226% for the first 10 months of the year.

However, the F-PACE benefits from a national appetite for SUVs and crossovers; consumers haven’t shown the same preference for battery-powered vehicles. Sales of electric vehicles contributed to less than 1% of overall vehicle purchases in the U.S. so far this year, according to data from IHS Markit, a consulting firm in Southfield, Mich.

But that’s not stopping Jaguar and a spate of other automakers from rolling out several new all-electric models over the next several months, as the cost of batteries drops and federal fuel-efficiency standards become more stringent. General Motors is expected next month to deliver the Chevrolet Bolt, a sub-$30,000 all-electric sedan with a range of 238 miles. It will compete directly with Tesla’s forthcoming Model 3, which has already garnered a record number of pre-orders.

The I-PACE might have an advantage over the market’s smaller entrants, which include a minicar from Smart. “If you look at what people in the U.S. like to buy, it’s crossovers and SUVs,” said Devin Lindsay, an analyst at IHS Markit.

Jaguar will showcase the I-PACE concept vehicle at the Los Angeles Auto Show, which opens to the public Friday. The brand plans to reveal the production version of the I-PACE late next year, with plans to bring it to showrooms in 2018. Pricing has not been released.