NOT that many years ago I got to test one of the very first electric cars to go on sale in the UK from a mainstream manufacturer.
Now I am not saying which because it turned into a disaster – not only did the futuristic-looking thing only do a maximum of 30 miles when fully charged but it was slow and also had a habit of discharging itself when parked, meaning there was not even enough power to open the locked recharging flap!
Just a few years later and how things have changed – as I discovered during a week with the new, all-electric Jaguar I-Pace.
For a start a full charge means a near three hundred mile range and this thing is quick, really quick with a supercar-like 0 to 60 time of 4.5 seconds and top speed of 124mph.
It is also stylish – a kind of cross between a sports car and an SUV (Jaguar describe it as a ‘Sports SUV’) – and driving it around I soon found that the I-Pace attracted a lot of attention and quite a few questions.
The main one was about range and that is where electric vehicles have now come of age – not only can you do almost 300 miles on a full charge but after a few days of local journeys I left it plugged in overnight to a standard three pin socket which put back 100 miles.
And due to that near 400bhp twin electric motor set up, which also means 4 wheel drive, it has great performance with masses of torque on tap the moment you hit the go pedal.
Downsides? Well it does feel like a heavy vehicle due to that huge battery and then there is the price… although our test version, the HSE, came loaded with all the right kit which at £71,495 on the road including the government Plug in Car Grant is to be expected.
The I-Pace is several thousand pounds more than the equivalent F-Pace but then trips to the petrol station become a thing of the past and the cost of that overnight charge is just a fraction of what you would pay at the pumps. Also the entry level S Model starts from a shade under £61,000 after the government PiCG.
That HSE kit list includes executive toys like adaptive cruise control, huge 20” alloy wheels, power gesture tailgate, heated leather seats all round (plus electric and cooled in the front), 360 degree camera system, premium sound and sat nav on a big central touchscreen, panoramic glass roof, wireless phone charging and a whole lot more.
But don’t expect much in the way of off road ability as the ground clearance and tyres fitted are only suited to road based motoring. However, the four wheel drive system and snow mode in the numerous drive settings mean you will never get stuck when the white stuff starts to fall.
The I-Pace also comes with home socket and fast charge cables and if you do forget to put some juice in there is an alert and low power mode to get you to the nearest power point.
So it is a great car if you have that kind of cash and are keen to do your bit to save the planet… which is probably why it won an historic treble at the 2019 World Car Awards. Not only did the I-Pace take the World Car of the Year and World Car Design of the Year titles, it was also named World Green Car, the first model ever to win three World Car titles in the 15-year history of the awards.
The accolades were awarded at the New York International Auto Show by a panel of 86 motoring journalists from 24 countries and came just weeks after the I-Pace claimed the European Car of Year title.
For more information see www.jaguar.co.uk
By Motoring Editor Steve Howarth