Jaguar unveils its “Tesla killer”, and the EV race is on

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Jaguar Land Rover’s all-electric SUV, the I-Pace, was officially unveiled to the world early Friday morning (AEDT), live from Graz in Austria where the rather beautiful and sleek looking luxury cars are being made.

The webcast reveal, which was – rather bizarrely – “hosted” by British comedian Jack Whitehall, was watched online by several thousand, and lit social media up with a mix of rave reviews and, of course, the inevitable comparisons with Tesla.

“Jaguar just stepped into the arena with Tesla,” Tweeted Green Car Reports. “ Jaguar officially announces the I-PACE, its Model X killer,” said TechnBuffalo.

“Jaguar’s all-electric 2019 I-Pace has @Tesla in its sights,” Tweeted Digital Trends. “Jag is out-Tesla-ing Tesla with this I-Pace event,” quipped another. And on it goes.

Of course, the rivalry has been egged on by Jaguar itself, which staged a “cheeky” race between the I-Pace and Model X as part of the pre-packaged reveal (more about that later, but it has been noted by some that the US EV maker’s shares had fallen in after hours trading – 3.5 per cent at time of publication).

So what do we know about the Jaguar’s first all-electric offering that we didn’t a few days ago?

Price: Jaguar Land Rover Australia has revealed that the I-Pace is now available for order in Australia, priced from $119,000 (I-Pace S). (In the UK, they are selling from £60,000.)

No official word yet on exactly when delivery on these orders will be, but earlier this week JLRA told RE it would most likely be October-ish.

That price tag compares to a starting price of around $A120,000 for the Model X. The Model X P90D model sits at up around $200,000.

Range: Jaguar says the I-Pace’s “liquid cooled” 90kWh battery has an official range of 480km per charge, which is impressive, but not much change from the official range of 465km for the Model X.

Jaguar says the car can use “rapid public charging” – which apparently refers to a 100kW DC charger – to get the battery from 0-80 per cent in just 40 minutes. A 15 minute-long charge can provide 100km of range.

Jaguar says it has also built in a “battery pre-conditioning system,” which it explains thus: “when plugged in the I-PACE will automatically raise (or lower) the temperature of its battery to maximise range ahead of driving away.”

Battery performance: We note that in some of the finer print, JLRA says the I-Pace’s li-ion battery uses “432 pouch cells.” We asked our EV brains trust, Bryce Gaton, what that meant. Here’s what he said:

“There are basically three types of cells used for EV batteriess: pouch, prismatic and cylindrical. These refer to the construction – they all use the same lithium chemistries.

“Pouch cells look like those flat microwave curry packs, but with two tabs (for the positive & negative) sticking out the top. …You would use a few hundred in a modern EV.

“They are very good for energy density, but need a fair bit of engineering to make into a useable battery pack that is easily cooled.

“Nissan, in particular ducked the cooling bit and their accelerated battery ageing issues in the early LEAFs were in part due to this,” Gaton said in emailed comments to RE.

“Prismatic cells are big block cells, usually used for conversions. Very easy to use but not particularly energy dense. And cooling them is hard.

“Cylindrical – these are what Tesla use – basically they look like AA, D and the like cells, but are a specific EV size called the 2170 battery cell, named after its 21 mm diameter by 70 mm length.

“These are welded together into packs of several thousand. Good energy density and very easy to keep cool using liquid cooling systems.”

According to JLRA, the I-Pace battery is covered by an eight-year warranty, that is limited to 160,000km and 70 per cent “state of health.” Whole vehicle warranty is three-years/ 100,000km.

Jaguar has also announced plans to undertake second life energy storage trials in an effort to extend the life of its used EV batteries with new recycling partnerships.

Driving performance: The All Wheel Drive car has dual electric motors, one driving the front wheels and the other at the rear, and can go from zero to 100km/h in 4.8 seconds, and to a top speed of around 200km/h.

Tech specs: Much like most new cars on the market, the I-Pace uses a combination of touchscreens, capacitive sensors and physical controls. Like the Tesla Models S and X, it senses the key when the driver approaches the car, and reveals its hidden outer door handles. It also identifies individual driver preferences, and tailors the driving and interior settings accordingly – also not a particularly new thing.

What is new-ish is that the cars will be equipped with Amazon Alexa Skill, Amazon’s version of Siri, which can be asked for information such as “Is my car locked? What is the charging level? Do I have enough range to get to work?”

So what about that race? As mentioned above, one of the most eye-catching parts of the I-Pace reveal was a video (see below) of two 0-100km/h drag races between the Jag and both the Tesla Model X 75D and 100D.

Spoiler alert: The I-Pace wins both times. Not surprisingly, Tesla devotees on Twitter are calling BS, and for a rematch. Some are also saying the contest was not a fair comparison, and should be between the I-Pace and the Model S.

Our brains trust, who hasn’t seen the video, also smells a rat, and says that “on paper” the Tesla should win.

“Something not quite right there,” Gaton told RE by email. “I wonder if they tricked up an I-Pace but did not use Teslas with either of the ‘Ludicrous’ or ‘Insane’ performance optional extras?”

That said, it’s worth noting that getting the “Ludicrous” option with your Tesla Model X in Australia is an added cost – even for the $200,000 model. So what that means in comparison to the $120,000 I-Pace remains to be seen.

No word yet from Elon Musk. But as the Tweet below points out – and as Musk himself has said numerous times before – any competition is good competition in the global EV space. So bring it on!


  • handbaskets’r’us

    The video claims to pitch the iPace against an XP100D. -But it’s just a 100D.
    The P100D does 0-100kmh in 2.9 seconds.
    And for a Jag it’s also pretty ugly…

    • technerdx6000

      100D shouldn’t lose though. It does 0-100 in about 4.8 seconds too I believe

    • Brunel

      Did you even watch the video? The Kiwi in it said that a P100D is almost twice the price of an i-Pace.

  • Rod

    This Porsche Mission e looks pretty schmick. A bit out of my price range though

  • Chris Fraser

    Nice Jag … by the way where is my AU$25,000 i-Corolla ?

    • George Darroch

      You can buy a Prius C for about that price. Not yet for an EV in Australia.

  • Stan Hlegeris

    Shame on you for using the ridiculous “Tesla killer” headline. Most of us will be happy to see more car makers introduce serious electric vehicles. Tesla’s own declared mission is to see all the others follow suit.

    A single model maybe coming later this year from a brand which appeals mainly to old people–the buyers least likely to go electric–poses not the slightest threat to Tesla, a company which has actually been delivering electric vehicles for more than ten years.

  • Robin_Harrison

    Jaguar clearly see Tesla as the competition but I doubt Tesla feel the same. The demand for seriously focused EVs is growing and already well beyond the possibility of satisfying in the foreseeable future, particularly as they get ever more affordable. Anybody seriously getting into that market will probably thrive because the market is huge. The entire global transport fleet.

  • Ren Stimpy

    It’s a Shagua. Yeah baby yeah!

    • George Darroch


  • HybridPower53

    Why do you keep saying that they are Tesla killers. How about a heading like Jaguar joins the 21st century.

    • handbaskets’r’us

      Elon Musk has stated that if Tesla is killed by other, cheaper better EV’s his work is done and his dream is realised.

      • Brunel

        Tesla lorries are probably the most competitive though. And what matters to DHL is the cost of running trucks – they do not care about falcon wing doors and retractable door handles.

  • Nick Kemp

    I’d love to see the Bathurst 1000 preceded by the EV 250. A similar race in the F! support races too. Might cause some cognitive dissonance with the fans though

  • Nick Kemp

    These are all fairly pricey at the moment but in a few years how will jaguar etc justify a huge mark up over normal cars. It’s hard to argue that your electric motor or battery should cost a fortune more than anyone else so will it just be badge snobbery?

    • Brunel

      In a few years, driverless cars will take over. I know a household in which the mother goes to her job at 630 am and the father goes to his job at 930 am.

      They have a car each. If driverless cars become legal, the mother would not need a car.

      Some say, the number of cars on the road can be slashed by 90% if driverless cars become a thing.

  • rEVolution

    Someone need to fix all the errors in the article. Tesla never sold a 65D, and 90D has been discontinued for a long time.

    It is good to see more EV options on the very limited Australian EV market.
    But demand for the I-pace is far less than Tesla.
    Jaguar brags about 2 dozen orders only.

  • andrew1953

    Tesla X is a big, heavy car. Salesperson said starting price was $160K through to $280K. Half a dozen recharging stations between Melbourne and Sydney. Some I’m told are located at wineries – clever marketing
    Have to wait and see an I-Pace in the flesh.

  • Brunel

    Kicking and screaming?

    That is like saying Sony dragged Nikon and Canon into making digital cameras. While Sony made video cameras in the 1980s, I think Sony never made a film camera.

    Nikon and Canon made film cameras in the 20th century and the i-Pace is analogous to what Nikon and Canon did.

  • MaxG

    Agree with what most have pointed out… the headline is certainly undeserved.
    What should matter, and I applaud, is any manufacturer who offers an EV in their line-up. The competitiveness aspect is redundant; people will buy what they like, which agian, makes competitive terms superfluous.