No highways were harmed in the preparing of this blog fragment; our new I-Pace is for the moment an urban runabout. In town, it doesn’t get you anywhere faster than a Honda Fit or 20-year old Ford Focus would. But those burn fossil fuels and we should all try to stop doing that.
[Yes, I said I was going to do live updates to Sunday’s Green Light piece, but that turns out to be annoying. Sorry.]
I originally wanted to get white paint because I unhealthily loved the red-leather-seats option and thought the white/red combo was cool. And I still think so, but I’m glad Lauren convinced me to go for Caesium Blue. It’s a lovely color, lighter than it seems in online pictures.
I was afraid the blue/red would look kind of garish but now that I’ve seen it I don’t care. If I worried about that kind of thing I wouldn’t buy a Jaaag, right? I do wish they offered a nice forest green though.
It’s dead cool to pull out your phone, pop open the car’s remote-control app, and set the internal climate to 20°C ten minutes before you go out to drive somewhere on a Canadian winter night.
The headlights have autonomic voodoo; they click into high-beam mode when they think nobody’s in front of you (correctly, so far) and apparently try to point away from the eyes of drivers in oncoming lanes.
Yeah, the infotainment screen navigation is kinda klunky and slow, and the menu tree isn’t the most intuitive thing. But it’s not that big.
I found that within a day, I had perfected a leisurely wave gesture, somewhat in the style of a Tai Chi master or opium smoker, and achieved menu mastery.
When I plugged in my Pixel 2, Android Auto initially coughed and belched, but the kinks worked themselves out and it’s now a first-class citizen of the big middle screen. It’s kind of cool having Google maps on the big screen and Jag’s own maps, which are more eyecandyful, up on the “instrument panel” screen behind the steering wheel.
Prior to buying the car, I’d blown off negative comments on its infotainment app by saying “who cares, I’m going to use software from a software company.” But I have to say that the general presentation of the Jag software on Jag’s screens is prettier than Android manages. There’s been attention to typography, there are tonal gradients in the background, and so on.
Having said that, it doesn’t have my 13,096 songs in the cloud like Google does, and doesn’t know what “OK Google, text Lauren” means, nor “OK Google, Calgary weather.”
I’m not actually sure what outcome I’d like to see on this one.
The user manual is available as a mobile app; the Android version gets horrible reviews mostly because it only covers a couple of Jaguar models. It’s actually not bad, with a search function and visual guide and rich hyperlinking. There’s also a PDF version online at ownerinfo.jaguar.com, and then when you get the car there’s a hefty slab of dead trees in the glovebox.
However, all of these are sadly incomplete in their coverage. For example: The car comes with a feature where you can have it play whooshy spaceship crescendos as you accelerate, to help petrol-heads who are missing that fossil-combustion roar. No form of the manual told me where in the menus it was hiding. OK, I was trying to impress a 12-year-old, but still.
Also, I wanted to fool with the instrument panel display, which has many modes. The manual is full of English sentences that have subjects and verbs and objects but somehow failed to map, in my mind, to what I was seeing on the car’s screens. I appreciated the advice I’d picked up in the online Jaguar community, which is that this wisdom is best consumed with the help of a couple of glasses of the Famous Grouse. So I went and bought some, but there are lots better Scotches and it didn’t help that much.
Oh right, online communities. The best for my money is at ipaceforums.co.uk although, as the name suggests, it’s Euro-heavy. There’s also i-paceforum.com (note the hyphen) but it’s not as good. On Reddit there’s r/jaguar and the still-embryonic r/ipace.
I’ve signed the car into the home WiFi network and turned mobile data on. It came with an AT&T Canada SIM and despite several pleading emails from AT&T, I have no idea what that does. It was already network-connected somehow because the remote-control app tells me where it is and how charged it is and lets me do things like turn on the heating inside.
I also turned network updates on, and noticed that the software is a couple releases behind the latest. More investigation is definitely required.
Speaking of apps and suchlike, someone is building a Python library to talk to the I-Pace’s API, and making good progress. There are lots of interesting APIs, many of which Jaguar’s remote-control app doesn’t use. Hmmm…
[Life lesson: A really good time to write about something is while you’re learning about it. I learned this from Mark Pilgrim and if you’ve never heard of him that’s OK (if sad).]