On Wednesday, I signed an order for a 2019 Jaguar I-PACE, to be delivered in the late autumn. For those who don’t follow the electric-car scene, this is a brand-new no-petroleum product with range and performance in the same range as a Tesla S or X. Since electric cars interest geeks and greens — both over-represented in my readership — and since the Jag is a new thing and contains a lot of technology, I thought I’d do a diary-and-notes series on the car and the experience of getting into the electric-driving space.

Jaguar I-PACE

The configuration I ordered. The picture is kind of fuzzy
because it’s a screen grab from Jaguar’s VR configurator.

Why electric in 2018? · I think we can all agree that we’d like our autos to be as spacious, comfortable, green, and fast as possible within our budget constraints. As of now, electrics are at least as spacious, comfortable, and fast as ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) cars, but more expensive. They’re greener because, obviously, they don’t burn petroleum distillates.

But the green part isn’t a slam-dunk. An automobile’s carbon load falls into the manufacturing bucket and the running bucket, and these often end up being roughly comparable over the lifetime of the car. So the green thing to do is to keep your car on the road for a long time, and thus inflict the manufacturing carbon on the environment as rarely as possible. Since, at the moment, our family cars average well over ten years in age and both are over-powered gas guzzlers, the green trade-off is OK.

But wait! If you’re living in a place where the electricity is coal-generated, it’s not obvious that exiting petrol lowers your carbon load. Once again, since we’re in the Pacific Northwest where the power is mostly hydroelectric, the greenness accounting looks good.

When I say the accounting is OK, does this mean I've done a detailed quantitative drill-down on the tons of CO2 that are getting into the atmosphere as the consequence of my actions? Nope. Just that the story, in this case, doesn’t suffer from any glaring implausibilities.

Why Jaguar? · My electric-car shopping has an extra constraint: Since I live in Vancouver and work for Amazon, anything I buy has to be able to take me to Seattle (226km), no doubt allowed whatsoever that it’ll get there on a charge. Up until recently, that meant Tesla. While I admire Tesla’s boldness and engineering skill, I find the cars, as design statements, blankly cautious. Model 3’s have started appearing in my neighborhood and they’re just hideous inside. Also, Teslas seem overpriced. Also, every geek I know who’s inclined to electric already has one. Also, I’ve enriched enough Paypal founders already.

The picture improved a bit with the recent arrival of the Chevy Bolt, which seems like a nice practical little car. On the other hand, reviewers say that many people find the seats violently uncomfortable.

Now, the I-PACE… aargh, that dorky all-caps name hurts my brain; from here on in I’ll just say “the Jag”. Its range and performance are similar to a Tesla S or X. I think it looks way cooler. It’s significantly cheaper, too. There’s a console with knobs you can spin and a data-rich dashboard behind the wheel. I’ll do another post digging deep into the car, which I’ve been researching pretty extensively.

Why now? · That’s a good question. Both of our 10-plus-year-old vehicles still run OK (although I don’t trust the one I usually drive enough for the Seattle trip). Buying an electric car now creates the same kind of fear you got buying a PC in the Nineties: If I wait six months, will there be something better?

Except that here’s where emotion enters into it. I’ve wanted an electric for a few years now, and have been frustrated that on my internal Venn diagram, the “I like it” circle didn’t intersect the “Can reach Seattle” circle. Second, when I was a little kid growing up in the Sixties, the Jaguars were the most beautiful cars in the world. I wasn’t car-centric then and I’m still not now, but I can remember thinking “Wow, that’s a great-looking car. When I grow up, I’m going to have a Jaguar!”

Well, I’m grown up. More than that, I’m getting kind of old. Who knows if there’ll be a tomorrow? I don’t feel like waiting, I feel like driving a great-looking super-fast electric Jag. So I put down a refundable deposit when the I-PACE news broke in March, signed the paperwork this week, and got an order number.

Next · First, the product launch was a marketing masterpiece, worth covering. Next, I’ll write what we know so far about the car. Then, I’ll offer opinions about how to order. I think electric-car politics are worth a few words too. Also, I’ve started to find out about the e-vehicle owner subculture that’s springing up. Then eventually later this year, I’ll report on actually owning the thing.



Contributions

Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Ivan Sagalaev (Jul 05 2018, at 22:16)

Interestingly, that marketing masterpiece of a launch (read: paid reviews from everywhere at the same time) was for me a defining signal that I'm not buying one, ever :-) Sure, I already drive a Tesla, but I could think of replacing it if the launch was less pushy and less dishonest.

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From: Karl Voit (Jul 06 2018, at 02:24)

Glad that you're going to drive a nice car that will be made here in my home town (Graz/Austria).

Should I ask around if somebody might put a Thank You note in your glove box? ;-)

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From: Paul Guinnessy (Jul 06 2018, at 07:04)

The Chevy Bolt seats seem to be mixed. Some cars are fine, others are not. I've been in the same boat and came really really close to buying a Bolt in the last few days but some things stopped me. They were:

1. Trying to get the dealer to give me a price was hard work. Every time I asked, it was, "why don't you come in and we can talk about it" (this was partly because I wanted a light grey interior). It shouldn't have stopped them from giving me a number.

2. It doesn't have the same safety features as a lot of the other cars have (such as automative cruise control). More importantly it doesn't have the automatic frontal collision braking unless you buy the top of the range, which is $43, or maybe $37K after discounts (excluding freight, tax and dealer fees which brings it up to $40K again).

3. You can get a Nissan Leaf with all those safety features for $31K including tax. The only downside is that the back seat is practically unusable for anyone other than small children. In addition, Chevy are offering 4% or 5% loan terms at a time Nissan is offering 0% for 72 months.

4. You can buy a VW Tiguan with all those safety features and a much nicer interior for $23K and 1.9% interest rate on a loan.

So my EV friends tell me that its the wrong time to buy the Leaf, I should wait for the 200 mile version to come out later this year (and the Bolt was way more fun to drive, just not $10K more fun to drive). So I think its going to be the Tiguan for now, and solar panels on the roof to do my bit for the environment. (which based on the number of miles I drive, might be a bigger impact anyhow).

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From: Jeremy (Jul 06 2018, at 07:26)

Any thoughts on the brands' charging infrastructure pros and cons?

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From: Peter Flynn (Jul 06 2018, at 11:54)

Like you, I'm beginning to be in the market for an electric car, and for similar reasons. My 10-year-old diesel Renault Scénic is still working well, and I'd be reluctant to lose it, but it won't last forever. I too have longed for a [in my case, red] Jag since childhood (I even started a savings account for one at the age of seven with 5/- from my grandmother :-) And I require a car that will do Cork–Dublin (260Km) on a charge. The €30k Renault Zoe claims 400Km but it’s both tiny and tinny as well as overpriced. Tiguanas and Bolts are unknown here, leaving only the Ioniq, Leaf, Golf, and the Beamer i3. The Jag isn't available here until end 2018, so I'll be looking for an interim report!

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From: Martin Wood (Jul 06 2018, at 12:25)

Well done Tim. I like the look of the e-pace.A red RV style that is bandied about here.I'd like a few more km though as 400km won't get me to the mountain. Looking forward to next review

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From: John Cowan (Jul 06 2018, at 15:43)

Tim: Y'know, there's no reason you have to conform to trademarked typography: you can perfectly well write "I-Pace" if you want to. I always refused to write either "Yahoo!" or "rms", and when writing to someone with an alllowercasepseudonym I address them as "All Lower Case Pseudonym" like a human being.

Paul Guinnessy: The number you want isn't the price of the car, it's the price of you, and they can't judge that until they see you.

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From: Preston L. Bannister (Jul 07 2018, at 14:23)

Will be interested in your perspective, as a software guy.

My take is that Tesla is building a car around a specialized supercomputer, running a load of over-time developed software. I suspect that traditional manufacturers will not "get" the significance, and build cars with inadequate compute and software. In particular I expect they have massively underestimated the software.

Though when you get your car, all you can say is how your car meets your needs. Unless you have spent time in a Tesla, you have no basis for comparison. (Might be an excuse to borrow/rent a Tesla.)

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From: David Magda (Jul 08 2018, at 05:52)

For any one interested e-cars, and e-stuff in general, I recommend the Fully Charged YouTube channel, created by Robert Llewellyn (who played Kryten in "Red Dwarf"):

https://www.youtube.com/user/fullychargedshow

Their I-PACE first drive:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MocHcoBm4bU

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From: Paul Guinnessy (Jul 08 2018, at 06:25)

John Cowan, I've already visited the dealer once for the test drive, and they already know everything about me and what I want. I don't want to spent hours arguing over price at a dealer. Life's too short. We both know its just to wear me down. All they need to do is simply tell me how much it will cost.

They also know I've been talking to the Nissan dealer over a Leaf, who were a lot more helpful (test drove the car, confirmed the prices, and confirmed their zero percent deal all over the phone).

Honestly its almost enough to make me think, screw it, just get a Mini Countryman :-)

Wife didn't like the backseats in the Tiguan, so its off the list.

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From: David Taylor (Jul 08 2018, at 16:14)

Curiously I just ordered a Tesla M3 AWD for delivery OCT-DEC 2018. EAP, 19" wheels, no self driving option.

I looked at/sat in theJaguar's iPACE-brother, the ePACE and liked the interior but that was the diesel version.

My pal from Scotland just visited us in CA and he bought and has recently taken delivery of a bright red ePACE with a bigger diesel that Jaguar only sells in England.

The iPACE is not yet available in the US as your post notes.

The Bolt/Volt/Leaf variants are not real and anyone who buys one of them is pretty dumb. No charger network and no real range. Those are over delivered prototype cars. A used car lot near me has a row of over 10 LEAFs at the front of the lot gathering dirt.

I will be watching your progress with interest.

David

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From: Doug K (Jul 09 2018, at 16:06)

good for you. I too would rather have a Jag than a Tesla. It should be great fun..

just bought a new-to-me car, 14 years old and I hope to keep it running for another 6 at least. Previous car was a 20 year old minivan. That's what happens when college fees run $40k per annum and I'd only saved up a mere $200 000 for my two sons..

I may not live long enough for electric cars to enter my price range ;-)

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From: Etienne Posthumus (Aug 03 2018, at 00:22)

Here in the Netherlands I have been driving a Hyundai Ioniq Electric for the past year, and absolutely love it. My commute is Amsterdam to Leiden. Enough space, (also in the back) very reasonable price, and enough gadgetry as standard trim to satisfy the inner geek.

Realistic range is limited to around 200km in summer, less in winter. For larger distances we have an excellent fast-charger network needing an on-average 20min stop en-route to get to the North for example.

Downside is that you officially can't fit a towbar or roofrack, no-one tells you that little important nugget at sale.

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author · Dad · software · colophon · rights

July 05, 2018
· The World (126 fragments)
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