The PluginIndia team got an opportunity to check out the Jaguar I-PACE electric car. We drove the I-PACE from Mumbai to Pune city to Mapro Food Park at Wai near Mahabaleshwar. We also tried DC fast charging the I-PACE at a Tata Power fast charging station. We take you on this journey and showcase our observations on this marvel of engineering.
We left Pune on the Deccan Queen train and reached Dadar at 1000 hrs. Reached Moiz Apartments, at Santacruz where the Halims stay. The red Jaguar I-PACE was there - waiting for us. Kamlesh had remotely signed all the documents by then - and we were good to go.
The first impression of the car was comforting. Like the Nexon EV, the I-PACE does not have a key. The fob alone is enough. The I-PACE has an ex-Showroom price of about Rs. 105.91 Lakhs. The car is imported as a CBU, so it attracts 100% duty. Just the other day, whilst I was cycling on SB road, I got into a race with a Lamborghini. Thanks to the signals on the road, I won the race. What horrified me was the width of the Lambo convertible. And I had woken up to a bad dream of navigating congested Mumbai roads in an I-PACE which was as wide as the Lambo. Was relieved to see the car's width. In the height department, it is significantly lower and for that reason I would classify it as a car more than an SUV. One of the big advantages of the lower posture is not just higher speeds, but more importantly a lower coefficient of drag. For a car that weighs 2.13 ton, 606 kg for the 90 kWh battery pack alone, returning 250-300 wh/km is quite kosher.
The Jaguar I-PACE touch screen size is just right. I am not a fan of the Tesla laptop screens that sit on the dashboard. Wonder what would happen in frontal collisions in Teslas. With EVs, there is still no standardisation on the gear shift. I have used a rotary switch in the Reva, a stick shift in the Mahindra e2o, a rotating knob in the Tata Nexon EV - and now the button selector in the I- PACE. I found the I-PACE design to be the best. The buttons are neatly arrayed: D, N, R, P - exactly in the space that you expect them to be in. And the response time is low enough not to worry you. This is critical when you are taking U-turns on narrow congested roads, which is what Raphae was doing near Kalina.
Though one of these buttons was interesting. The I-PACE sits on air suspensions - and this button can help you decide at what height you want to ride. When the car is on the highway, the algos do an auto adjust of the height, but in cases where you want to be low even at low speeds, for instance parking in low garages, you can do a manual override.
In city driving, you do get noticed. As a rule, I avoid using the horn and air conditioning. With windows rolled down, conversations do happen. The styling is eye-catching - and a rickshaw wallah did ask us whether it runs on a battery. Probably the quietness of Kalina and the green number plates helped him guess that. The other guy who had a conversation was not so pleasant. He was a volunteer with Greater Mumbai Municipal Corporation and he wanted us to roll up the windows. Had a lovely lunch with Raphae at Tiffany’s near Santa Cruz station. Those readers who are imagining that my choice of restaurants is dictated by the vehicle that I am testing, let me reassure you the Tiffany’s is as Udipi as a restaurant can get - and lunch was super healthy dosa and Uttapa.
The luxury vehicle segment has a common characteristic: feature overload. There are so many options, that one feels like the proverbial donkey who stands between two stacks of hay, dying hungry because it could not choose between the two. I ended up experimenting with very few of these features. One that made a lot of sense was the regen. To Jaguar’s credit, they have made life simple by giving very simple modes in regen - low and high. I used the high regen mode all the way. And this meant that I could do almost single pedal driving. I used the brakes only 5 times in the 175 km journey from Mumbai to Pune. We started the journey with an SOC of 94% and ended with 44%. This means that we would have got a full tank (oops full battery) range of 350 km. But then there was some serious ghat climbing, albeit without the AC on. I expect the I-PACE should do 400 km on normal highways - with speeds of 100 kmph. The I-PACE, with its 294 Kw motor, is a beast of the highway. I was tempted to push the pedal every 10 minutes and enjoy the ephemeral thrill of a speed junkie.What the car also does superbly is the acceleration. You literally are the king of the road with that zip.The more effective use of the zip is when you are in a 80 kmph traffic jam. You can just aim and shoot - and the car finds the gaps with ease. Part of this aim and shoot accuracy is because of the All wheel drive. The I-PACE has front and rear motors which are almost at the wheel level. Another reason is the tyres. I developed a love-hate relationship with the tyres. The I-PACE sits on four fat boys and combined with the air suspension, they take on potholes and bad roads like makhan. But the environmentalist in me understands that with great width comes great responsibility. The rolling resistance goes up - and the WH / KM start climbing. There is a legitimate reason for the spare tyre not going into its usual sub dicky slot: the entire underfloor area is reserved for the battery. The big plus of that battery location is a low center of gravity - and fantastic handling. One gets a feeling that one is driving with velcro tyres - never once during the rainy night drive at high speeds did I get a feeling of the vehicle slipping or going out of control. We reached the Tata charging point at Kroma mall off ITI road in Aundh at 2045 hrs. Kamlesh was there waiting for us. Unfortunately his app could not get the 25 kW charger to start pumping in the amps. Just FYI, if you plug the car into a 15 A socket, like the one I have at home, it will take more than 24 hours for the car to go from zero to full tank. Fast chargers are a must in bigger EVs. I am told that the standard home fitment is going to be a 7 KW charger. This should be able to juice up the battery overnight. (90 kWH / 7 kW = 13 hours). As we struggled with the app, Kamlesh called up Govind from Tata Power, who was super helpful. At such a late hour, he personally landed up and got the charger up and running. We got a Rs.400 worth charge done - and it took us almost an hour to top up. We started at 44% SoC and ended with 69% SoC. Tata Power charges Rs.18 per unit - which is a fair charge. They need to cover the cap-ex of almost Rs.7 lakh for a 25 KW charger - and possibly something as parking charges for keeping the slot available for 04 hours.
We landed back home at 2230 hrs and got stopped by our own building watchman. He assumed some alcohol imbibing rich brat had mistakenly landed up at the wrong house. Took some time convincing him that we were not imbibers of alcohol - and that we were genuine residents of the building. One of our night owl neighbours peeked down from his balcony - and congratulated us - on what he thought was our new Car.
On a Sunday at 1700hrs, we organized a Jaguar I-PACE EV Owners community meet up in my friend’s farm near Hinjewadi in Pune. Before we went there, we wanted to test fast ‘AC charging’ set up by a startup at HP pump near HAL Pimpri. We stayed on for about 45 minutes - and the 11 kW charger managed to pump 9 kWh into the I-PACE battery. We were billed Rs.24 for that, which I thought was ludicrously low. One of the challenges in chargers is spending the time. What do you do when you wait for charging to happen?
We left for my friend’s farm Cafe Climate, Nere for the Jaguar I-PACE community event. About 20 people landed up. We started with a farm tour. Pratik, from - Ace Perkins, Jaguar Land Rover Pune, had landed up to help with the test rides. We scheduled the rides in parallel - 3 people at a time. Priyadarshan, the owner of Cafe Climate, had converted one of his goat sheds into a meeting area. After a very interesting biogas discussion, we invited Mr. Abhay to talk about battery tech. This was followed by some snacks and tea.
Everyone loved the I-PACE. The smiles and adrenaline were flowing after each test ride. You may watch the community meet video here.
We started for Kondhwa to do the B-Rolls for the car. Lake Town is a fairly scenic location right next to Bapdev Ghat. Actually you can trek from the hilltop resort to Bapdev. The I-PACE has a power-save mode. It switches off all the screens - and also the AC. Playing around with regen, I also realised that for better range, you need to choose the Low-Regen mode. It does require more discipline than a High-Regen mode. With High-Regen mode you are either accelerating or braking. Though braking energy is being captured in battery charge, not all of it gets captured. Keeping up the inertia is a time tested way of reducing energy usage - and the I-PACE is no exception.
We headed to the MG showroom at Wakad after that to check out the 50 kW charger. We found the MG service folks super helpful. The charger has been shifted to a corner location - and the security guys helped us park and connect. Kamlesh already had the App - and connecting it and starting off was a breeze. We were getting 1% battery SOC increase every 1-2 minutes. So we could get a 50% top up in about an hour. We reached 94% and decided to stop - as the last 5% takes up much more time.
We then went on an out-of-city drive to Mapro, Wai. We did some DC Fast charging at Shirwal location on the way. The charger location was found using the Tata Power app. That story will be better told via our video embedded above!
The Jaguar I-PACE has got style, class, power, looks and range! The entire PluginIndia team were transfixed for weeks studying the I-PACE and documenting everything we could.
We wish the best to the entire JLR India team for their EV Journey.