Jaguar I-Pace long-term test: report 4

When Jaguar launched the fully electric I-Pace, it had few rivals, but that’s certainly not the case any more. So, is it still worth considering? We’re living with one to find out...

Jaguar I-Pace LT with another I-Pace

The car Jaguar I-Pace EV400 R-Dynamic HSE Black Run by Steve Huntingford, editor

Why it’s here To see if Jaguar’s electric SUV still feels like the future, or if it’s had its day

Needs to Combine its sleek looks with dynamics, luxury and range worthy of a prestige electric car

Mileage 3392 List price £77,495 Target Price £74,033 Price as tested £84,035 Test range 224 miles Official range 261 miles

2 May – Network issues

In theory, the new ultra-rapid electric vehicle chargers that are starting to appear at UK motorway services are brilliant – capable of adding up to 100 miles of range in less than 10 minutes.

True, many of the electric cars currently on sale can’t accept energy at the maximum 350kW rate of these units; my Jaguar I-Pace has a 100kW limit, for example. But you still won’t be stationary for long, right?

Jaguar I-Pace charging at motorway services at night

Well, like I say, that’s the theory. However, when I plugged into one of them on my way home from an awards dinner the other night, what I actually got was 35kW. And that meant I faced a wait of more than two hours if I wanted a full charge – not exactly ideal when it’s already gone midnight.

A “cooler issue” at the services was later blamed, and I might just have been unlucky; Gridserve, the company that owns these units, did finish first in our most recent public charger satisfaction survey. But while this was my first experience of these particular chargers, it’s certainly not the first time I’ve experienced reliability issues when trying to top up.

Indeed, I’ve had to use motorway chargers on two other occasions in the last week alone, and both times there were problems. First, I stopped at a location where three of the five units were out of order. Then a few days later, while queuing for a charger, I watched as a unit repeatedly failed to recognise a Polestar 2, forcing its driver to move on to another location.

Jaguar I-Pace LT charging instrument readout

The very real threat here is that these flaws in the infrastructure could lead to people ditching their electric cars and returning to petrol. And that’s a shame, because models like the I-Pace deserve better.

I’ve had to cover a lot of miles for work recently (hence all these visits to public chargers), and the car itself has been brilliant.

The range readout continues to prove very accurate – something I’ve learnt is key to banishing range anxiety. Plus, the I-Pace combines rock-solid stability on the motorway with wonderful agility on back roads, and I remain free from aches and pains even after several hours in the driver’s seat.

I was even able to stay toasty-warm while waiting for that Gridserve unit to trickle enough energy into my car’s battery for me to make it home, because the heated seats still work when the car is charging.

Jaguar I-Pace heated seat controls

After hearing how much I like my car, a friend of mine actually went out and bought an I-Pace of his own (the blue example above), despite the fact he commutes from London to Bristol three times a week.

Given these circumstances, I really wasn’t sure it would suit him, and said as much prior to him buying his car. However, because he can charge at work, he’s not needed to use the motorway charging network at all yet. And consequently, he has no regrets about making the switch from the diesel he drove previously.

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