The I-Pace insurance renewal showed up so I knew a year must have (so quickly!) gone by. I’d thought I should write something to draw a line under this diary, and then just now the car saved my life, so now’s the time. Not much new information here but maybe a couple of smiles.

Jaguar I-Pace

The insurance — two drivers, good records, no commuting — cost around two and a half thousand Canadian dollars. That year’s other car expenses put together (electricity, replacing a vandalized window) are a tiny fraction of the insurance. Electric cars, even with sports-car performance like the Jag’s, are stupidly cheap to run. I think that as electrics replace fossil vehicles slowly then quickly, the world will need fewer automotive mechanics. Paint and body and glass shops will be fine, but there’s not much to be done under the hood.

Riding the rain · Next time you’re driving, consider where the joules that move your car came from. For most of you, the story involves a whole lot of heavy machinery digging holes and pumping sticky black crap out of the planet and then turning it into auto fuel in a process that really fucks up the atmosphere near the refinery, and then requires you to pull into a loveless harshly-lit concrete enclave to stand beside a pump staring blankly while dozens of dollars flow out of your bank account into an oil-and-gas company’s, so you can turn travel hours into outflows of planet-killing CO2.

Our car is rain-driven. Well, it’s partly snow, but anyhow the clouds come in off the Pacific and crash into the mountain ranges and dump their sun-elevated droplets, frozen or not, and eventually the water flows down and into dammed-off valleys and through turbines, most built decades back, and eventually the electrons end up in the 240V charger behind our house where I plug the car in overnight every week or two and invest less than $10 to fill it up while I sleep.

I think I’m winning this one.

Jaguar I-Pace

Jag encounter · Late last summer in the long dusk of a bright day, we were heading home and I found myself queued up for a tricky west-to-south left turn at a big old intersection (for Vancouver cognoscenti, 12th to Main).

The twilight made all the cars and people and buildings look great. Traffic was heavy and the pause was considerable; while hanging out there, I noticed the first northbound car waiting for the light and for me to be gone was a beautiful old silver Jag sedan, I think an XJ, gleaming like a long low jewel in the slanting sun. I’m inclined to think that our Caesium-blue electric looked pretty glamorous too just then, from outside. I saw the dude in the other Jag was looking at mine too, then just as the traffic opened I met his eyes and then I curved round him while we shared a big Jaguar smile.

Snow champ · Did I say above “saved my life”? Quite likely. Sunday night we had a nasty snowstorm, which causes problems in Vancouver because there are a lot of hills and also a lot of people who rarely if ever drive in snow and are mostly perfectly OK folk but just don’t have a clue how to deal. We had an old friend over for dinner who came by bus; looking outside after, I said “I better take you home.”

Which may have been an error in judgment. On the hills, the sideways victims included not just the usual over-powered minivans but more than one city bus, so it wasn’t just a casual dusting.

Jaguar I-Pace

The Jag weighs over two metric tons (a third or so battery) and has big wide wheels and a snow-and-ice four-wheel mode so it laughs at this stuff. I was gentle with the juice and slow on the hills and yeah, I had to dodge one swiveling Acura, but it was OK.

After I dropped Gareth off downtown, I headed for a left turn onto a big one-way downtown-access road (for Vancouver cognoscenti, Citadel Parade to the Dunsmuir viaduct). As I approached, the light turned green so I was starting to aim left when this huge van hurtled along the road I was trying to turn onto. He’d clearly sped up to beat the yellow and then foolishly tried too late to stop; he must have been doing 60 km/h or more, and mostly sideways. I hit the brake hard and maybe the ABS implementation is a little rough but that big cat shuddered to a stop right freaking there in the snow, hardly rotating at all. OK, maybe I wouldn’t have died; but it would have been seriously ugly. Mea culpa; I should have pulled up to a stop at the line, not trusting the green light on such a night.

On the way home among the amateur-hour chaos in the snow the music shuffle switched over to Hildegard von Bingen and boy, did that ever hit the spot.

The Jaguar I-Pace is a good car. Mind you, pretty well all the modern electrics are; in the big picture, fossil propulsion is done for. But even given all that, it’s really awfully good; at keeping me alive and making me smile.


Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: DDB (Jan 14 2020, at 06:14)

What are the energy dynamics for electrics like in places that don't have (as much) access to renewable power? Not even all of Canada, let alone the world, is blessed with BC's hydroelectric abundance. Additionally, even when the car is electric, it's still stupefyingly inefficient to be hauling multiple tons of auto around just to move one or two humans. I'll agree with you that electrics are better than petros, but neither beats public transport or human power. And thirdly - how do the costs-to-manufacture and costs-to-dispose compare between electric and petro vehicles?


From: John Cowan (Jan 14 2020, at 09:45)

Even if the electricity for running such a car is 100% fossil, it will still be more efficient than conventional internal-combustion engines, because most of the time car engines are running less than all-out, which is where they are most fuel efficient. Not only that, but cars running at low speeds burn dirtier without high-weight, high-cost subsystems to prevent it. Furthermore, regenerative braking works with such systems independently of the source of the electricity.

Train engines solved this problem a long time ago with diesel-electric systems, so that the diesel generator is either running all-out to charge the batteries or is off. It took an unconscionably long time for cars to get the same hybrid tech, but of course there are no vested interests, I mean gas stations, along long-distance freight lines.


From: Doug Cutting (Jan 14 2020, at 11:40)

Electric cars are more efficient regardless of power generation mix.

Total carbon footprint, including manufacturing, is also lower.


From: Rob (Jan 17 2020, at 17:07)

Ironically, it turns out that in the future, a substantial chunk of the lithium for vehicle batteries may just come from oil sands tailing ponds and de-commissioned Alberta oil wells' brine solutions (starting in Leduc of all places):


From: Paul Kelly (Jan 23 2020, at 09:55)

It sounds a very nice car, but one detail in the article really jumped out at me - CAN$2,500 for insurance.

Is this typical of Canadian motor insurance prices? In the UK I pay less than a third of that for two not-young drivers with good records, including business use and around 20,000 miles per annum. My 5 series BMW is not as expensive as the Jaguar, but not cheap, and I expect a large part of the premium relates to third party costs, which would not differ between cars.


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January 12, 2020
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