Jaguar wants to put range anxiety to rest with its new I-PACE SUV due in Australia next month and the company has gone a fair way to doing just that with a 369km drive from London to Brussels on a single charge.
The all-electric performance SUV began its intercity trip on London’s South Bank, with its 90kWh battery fully charged, before heading to the Channel Tunnel terminal at Folkestone in Kent.
But unlike the 80 million vehicles that have made the crossing by train since the Channel Tunnel opened, the I-PACE travelled the 50km through the world’s longest undersea tunnel using its own power.
After emerging into the Calais sunshine from the service tunnel which runs between the two rail tunnels, Stephen Boulter, the Jaguar engineer behind the wheel, headed east and arrived at the historic Mons Des Arts in central Brussels with eight per cent battery charge still left.
Stephen Boulter, Vehicle Integration Manager, Jaguar I-PACE, said: “We know customers won’t compromise on everyday usability so we engineered our electric performance SUV to deliver outstanding real-world range.
“By driving the 369km from London to Brussels on a single charge – and arriving with plenty of range left – we’ve demonstrated how comfortably it deals with long-distance journeys.”
As part of the challenge, the I-PACE cruised along motorways and through rush-hour traffic in the northern hemisphere’s summer heat to reach the Belgian capital.
The I-PACE has some very neat features which help drivers tackle longer journeys.
For example, before the journey begins, pre-conditioning can automatically heat or cool the battery to reach its ideal operating temperature and set the cabin to the desired temperature too. Using power from the grid to do this instead of drawing current from the battery is more efficient and maximises range.
The navigation system takes account of route topography and driving style to calculate range on any given journey and can plot the most energy-efficient route available.
It will also alert the driver if the programmed destination cannot be reached and will help to find charging stations within range – using a 100kW DC rapid charger can add up to 100km of extra range in just 15 minutes.
Clearly in Australia that will be more of a challenge than in Europe where charging stations are popping up everywhere, compared to here where they are still thin on the ground.
Still, the $120,000 I-PACE’s range should be more than enough for most Aussie drivers to get comfortably – and without too much anxiety – from A to B.
Tony Bosworth writes for www.TheDriven.io and RenewEconomy.com.au. He has 35 years experience in journalism, and has been instrumental in launching and editing several automotive magazines including Which Car? magazine in the UK.