Jaguar takes on Tesla, with all-electric SUV due in Australia October

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Australian drivers could have another luxury EV to choose from by the end of the year, with British car maker Jaguar Land Rover set to unveil its first fully electric car at the end of the week.

The car maker said on Monday it would conduct a “digital” launch of its electric SUV, the I-Pacee, alongside two new plug-in hybrid models, via live broadcast on Friday.

Prices and specifications of the car will then be announced, “and order books opened for full configurations” immediately following the reveal, the company said.

The official “public debut” of the car will be at the Geneva Motor show, on March 6.

For Australian customers, Jaguar Land Rover Australia (JLRA) has confirmed to RenewEconomy that it expects to begin retailing the I-Pace in October, while $A pricing will be announced “in the coming weeks”.

According to reports, six Australians have already paid deposits for the car, despite not knowing its retail price (estimates put it at around $120,000) or all of the car’s performance specs.

When it does land on Australian shores, the I-Pace will add another luxury EV to Australia’s embarrassingly small collection of available models, most of which are also priced at upwards of $A100,000.

Nonetheless, it is further evidence Australia’s EV market could be – finally – starting to take off, as more and more car makers shift their focus to electric.

In late-2018, early-2019, the arrival of the mid-priced mass market offerings from Nissan (LEAF) and Tesla (Model 3) are expected to be major game changers.

In comments to Fairfax newspapers, JLRA managing director Matthew Wiesner said his company’s plan was to begin building local “support infrastructure” for the EVs in the coming weeks.

“This is a real first for us,” Wiesner said. “We’ll roll it out in the city and the regional dealerships at the same time. The next big thing will be what we do beyond the dealerships.”

On the specs of the car, not a great deal is known, although a spokesperson told RE by email that “indicative figures” suggested the I-Pace would be able to achieve 480km on a full charge.

According to Wired – whose reporter was given a test drive of a prototype I-Pace in December last year – there are already 25,000 people “interested” in buying the electric SUV, which it says could be a serious rival to Tesla’s Model X.

“(Jaguar) sold 150,000 vehicles globally in 2016, which was up 77 per cent on the year before,” the Wired article said.

“If it gets the I-Pace right the company could capitalise on the growing demand for both SUVs and electric cars, and have another hit on its hands.”

On charging, JLRA said the I-Pace would be capable of rapid recharge from zero to 80 per cent in 45 minutes (using a DC 100kW fast charger) and had been “rigorously tested across extremes of terrain and temperatures from -40°C to 40°C.”

In comments to this week, Wiesner said the company was in discussion with fellow luxury brands on using “common plugs” and other aspects of charging.

“We don’t want the crazy situation where BMW, us, Benz and Audi all have different charging plugs, or whatever it might be,” he said. “It’s good that everyone is talking.”

Readers can watch the live reveal of the I-Pace on Friday 1 March here (5pm AEDT).  

  • handbaskets’r’us

    Well bring it on I say!
    But why such a fat ugly Jag…?
    It must be the ugliest Jag ever built.
    They have electrified E-Types, -what’s with this?

    • david_fta

      Maybe when Tata bought Jag they had to keep the Ford design team?

      • nakedChimp


    • George Darroch

      It looks fine to me.

  • Kevfromspace

    Production of Right Hand Drive Tesla Model 3s is expected to begin in 2019. Considering the fact that Left Hand Drive Model 3 production timelines have been pushed back by up to 6 months, I think it’s dubious to claim that the first Tesla Model 3s will be arriving in “early-2019” given the currently available information.

    • 2ontrack

      the main hold up is in the Gigafactory that creates the battery units. The existing ones didn’t work as they contractor stuffed up. They had to create their own in their plant in Germany which now has to be taken apart, shipped over and installed in March. They already are increasing the model 3 now and by the second quarter should be ramping up a lot

    • Dennis Kavanagh

      In fact my Model 3 reservation timeline has recently changed from “early 2019” to “2019”. I reserved in person on 31/3/2016. Given the delays it probably won’t arrive here until 2020!

  • Kevfromspace

    It would also be useful to note that Hyundai will be bringing two EVs to the market this year, namely the Hyundai Ioniq sedan with ~200km range, as well as the newly-announced Kona EV SUV with ~330km of range. Both the Ioniq EV and the Kona EV are expected to retail for around A$50,000.

    There will also be a plug-in hybrid version of the Ioniq, which is Hyundai’s answer to the Prius. Expected price of the Ioniq PHEV will be about A$35-40K.

    • david_fta

      Hyundai’ll also have Nexo, a hydrogen fuel cell EV: 600 km range, then just fill up at the hydrogen tank (no smoking).

      • 2ontrack

        Hydrogen only 40% efficient to create. Then have to truck it by Diesel Tanker and pump it into the storage tanks. They pump it out again into the car and won’t be stand along things either. Very Inefficient way of producing energy. Wonder how many terminals they are going to build and who will run them. Can here it now, better fill up this week as hydrogen is going up next week.

        • Cato

          Two new plants announced in SA for producing by hydrolysis using cheap (even negatively priced) renewables. So even at your cited efficiency, can still be produced cheaply.

        • david_fta

          There’s also the Hazer Process, which uses an iron oxide catalyst to make hydrogen gas and graphite from methane.

        • Alastair Leith

          That’s what I used to argue, but on-site electrolysis has come a long way in the last decade, costs and efficiency gains could parallel the PV market if hydrogen fuel cells for transport find a market. Watch this space 😉

        • solarguy

          Try up to 70% efficient old son.

      • Charles

        We try not to talk about that.

    • nakedChimp

      damn, pricey. 🙁

    • Ian

      Without serious incentives, these vehicles will find competing with the similar Sonata and Elantra very difficult. A true vehicle to grid capability plus a home battery of about 6kWH thrown in might sweeten the deal. Other manufacturer incentives could be free servicing for 100 000km. Government incentives could be scrapping the luxury car tax and import duties an EV. Workplaces could be co-opted to provide free charging and preferential parking spaces, similarly shopping centres and supermarkets – after all a days commute is usually about 30km -6kWh of electricity- $2.00 to the shopping centre.

  • dono

    But why an SUV??? Most nations have high urban population’s that need a small car for commuting something like 40 or 50 km per day.

    • Jon

      Because that’s what people buy, if your a manufacturer you make what will sell.

    • Alastair Leith

      Their. Market.

    • Charles

      Nissan made such a car available in this country over six years ago, and everyone whinged that it didn’t have enough range. You need cars at all ends of the market so that people can see that electric vehicles come in all forms and can do everything that an equivalent petrol vehicle can do.
      (The Leaf is available on the second hand market for the $20-25k, highly recommended for the purpose you specify!)

  • 2ontrack

    will sell the car then install the infrastructure which will take years to catch up with Tesla Chargers and are they going to be fast charges or slow ones like the existing ones now.

    • Alastair Leith

      Car marques take their look very seriously, and modulate it rather than depart from it. I’d say Jaguar doubly so, it’s status object and people want that seal of nouveau riche approval to be rolled gold unmistakable :-). Some obvious exceptions, some successful others less so (remember that future proof ford falcon?)

    • Alastair Leith

      Check out the radical departure here:

  • Hettie

    For crying down the sink! This country doesn’t need more luxury EVS, surely?
    We need neat little commuter cars for the trip to work, and for mum to take the one or two kids to school, then head to her own job. Keep the costs down, and the buyers will come.
    The annual holiday will be the time to hire a bigger car with a longer range.
    Why buy a tank for every day?

    • George Darroch

      Yes, Australia does need these. These people will buy the Audis and Mercedes school-run tanks you see around you. It’s much easier to get them driving electric vehicles than it is to put them into Holden Astras.

      • Hettie

        OK. I take your point.
        But we also need EVs for the masses. As things are, EVs are out of reach for those on median incomes, let alone those with even less.

        • nakedChimp

          We need them yes, but if they don’t scale up production of batteries, this is what you get. Expensive gear.
          The plants producing ICE are making a profit for as long as they run. Retooling them to make ICE is not easy or sometimes possible.
          Our and your best hope of getting the BEV for the masses will be the Chinese sadly. End of story.
          I expect them to show up in larger numbers around 2020/22.

          • Hettie


    • Ian

      Are you saying that SUV’s should be banned and that cheap small cars should be the only option available ? And are you saying that women of child bearing age must have both a job and children but limited to 1 or 2 children, and they be limited to dainty vehicles like the Getz? Also that they be so tied down with this work/family routine that they are allowed one holiday a year which must be a road trip in a hired car? Dystopia here we come!

      • Hettie

        Oh for goodness sake!
        I am saying no such thing. I am not being prescriptive. Just saying that the currently available EVs are out of reach for the majority of Australians. That inexpensive, not “cheap” (and presumably nasty) models are needed before there will be widespread uptake.
        And if you don’t believe that what I have DEscribed is the reality of life for millions of working women, you are living in fantasy land.
        It makes little sense to buy a vehicle based on a need that occurs only once or twice a year. Are you not aware that many Australian families can’t afford to go away on holidays even once every year? That most families now are of only one or two kids? That there are huge numbers of single parents?
        I am saying only what I am saying. The median income is around $50,000 pa. Spending that much on a car is just not possible for about half of all Australians.

  • Ian

    We know that the batteries are the expensive part of an EV, the rest of the bits are probably cheaper than equivalent ICE vehicle components. For a small car like a leaf you need a 40kWh battery pack and for a big SUV, like the pace, 90kWH. The small EV is double the price of its equivalent whereas the SUV is (about $120 000 vs $100000 for an F-pace) ie 20% more.

    Why buy 1 Nissan Leaf when you can buy 2 of the equivalent ICE. Why buy an F-pace when you can pay a little more and buy a I-pace?

  • Robert Comerford

    The more EV’s the merrier, but a car priced for the lower end of the market is needed.
    I still say for the less well heeled of us that a PHEV is the current best option until battery prices fall by a big margin. Give me a battery pack for a 100km range with a flexfuel ICE battery charger that allows me the long distance runs when I need to and still not be tied to the fossil fuel market. I guess these days it would have to be a small SUV as that is what most people buy now.