When the Jaguar I-PACE hit the market in June 2018 it was hailed as the first electric SUV from a premium European automaker. The I-PACE was from the ground up designed to be an electric car. For the first time, there was an electric SUV alternative to the Tesla Model X. The Jaguar I-Pace did well and won the 2019 European Car of the Year and 2019 World Car of the Year awards.
MenStyleFashion had the chance to review the I-PACE in 2019 in the UK and also had an IPACE experience day in Andorra back in 2020. Back in 2019, we loved the design and driving capabilities of the I-PACE but felt it was let down by the slow and not so fluid interface of its infotainment system. Jaguar listened and launched a mid-2020 update and included a brand new infotainment system called Pivi Pro. It also included a 11-KW onboard charger, for faster 3-phase at-home charging.
In 2021 electric cars have come of age and the competition in the premium electric SUV market is heating up with the Audi E-tron, and Q4 e-tron, Mercedes EQC and the BMW iX3. Let’s see if the I-PACE still holds up as we take it for a spin in Holland for a week.
Holland Charging Network
So before I go onto how the updated I-PACE is I want to talk about the charging infrastructure in Holland. Having previously reviewed electric cars only in the UK I was keen to find out what the charging infrastructure would be like in Holland. In the UK I reviewed all the Tesla models that came with the benefit of the Tesla Super Charging network. When I reviewed the Audi E-tron back in 2019 I had to rely solely on third-party charging infrastructure which left me frustrated with poor implementation and range anxiety. I felt in 2019 the UK was not ready for the EV revolution.
A quick look at the numbers shows that Holland has over 66,000 charging stations on a population of 17 million, whereas the UK has 44,000 charging stations on a population of 66 million. This gives Holland 3,900 EV chargers per million and the UK 666 EV Chargers per million. Holland has 6 times more EV charging points per million than the UK and you feel it.
I stayed in Rotterdam in the affluent area of Kralingen where I was house-sitting for a friend for 1 month. The residential street the house was on had 8 public charging points and there were another 2 available just around the corner. I could always find a free charging point. The best thing of all was I had to zap a key and it would work. I had one key and I could use the whole charging network in the Netherlands, it just worked seamlessly. I daily did 250 to 300 kilometres of touring and always had the car fully charged in the morning with 400 kilometres of range, with zero range anxiety.
With the street charging so good there was no real need for me to check out other EV charging points. However, I wanted to get a better feel of the charging experience in Holland and stopped at a Fastned station which can be found at Shell petrol stations and is characterised by the single yellow arches. Most Fastned stations have chargers capable of 150kw or higher. The I-PACE is limited to 100KWso you can expect a 127 km range top-up in about 15 minutes. Again the experience was seamless with a zap of the charging key all that was needed. Although Fastned app users do get cheaper KWh rates. I just love public EV charging stations as you get to chat with other EV users, this time a Polestar 2 driver.
Compare this to my 2019 UK charging experience where I had no universal key and had to download charging apps for each different company offering charging services. I had to figures it all out and on some occasions, the charging app did not work. I hope the UK will learn and get the right investment in charging infrastructure and make it more seamless, it makes a world of difference.
Thanks to Holland and its infrastructure of electrification I had a no range anxiety at all. For me, it has to be the best in Europe. The only anxiety I had, was returning this lovely car to Jaguar after a week. I finally had a stress free electric car experience, slept well and survived mentally.
Pivi Pro – The 2020 Infotainment Update
With the charging experience and range anxiety completely sorted, I am now sold on EVs. With the slow infotainment system, a letdown in earlier I-PACE models I was keen to see how the 2020 update would go. The new Pivi Pro infotainment system works on three screens, the 12.3-inch virtual instrument cluster and the two touch screens on the centre console. Pivo Pro is inspired by smartphones and the lag has completely gone thanks to a powerful processor. The system is ready before I have the chance to sit down in the I-PACE. A backup battery keeps to GPS system powered on so it does not have to refind the satellites and can be used straight away. This is a huge improvement on the infotainment front.
However, I still found some little nags that could be changed with a software update. The GPS system is displayed on the centre console as well as the heads-up display and in the virtual instrument cluster. The latter two are only displayed when you are 150 meters away from having to make a turn. This is OK when you are on low speed, but on highways or fast secondary roads, I found the time too short of making the instruction. This meant I had to keep my eyes on the centre console more than I wanted to. It would be great if these instructions were time-based instead of distance-based so I don’t have to cross four lanes in a hurry to make an exit on the highway.
The 2nd thing I found frustrating was the 5-inch touch screen with the haptic dials to control the temperature and airflow. Whenever I pulled on the haptic dial my finger would touch the touch screen below with me accidentally turning off the airflow. It took a while for me to realise this and I am not sure if this can be solved with a software update.
Besides these two minor issues, the upgrade of the infotainment system is great and makes it superfluid. I would like to highlight how easy the system now integrates with the public charging network, where it takes into account charging cost, availability and charging time. So whenever you have to leave your home charger you get the best and most seamless experience.
When it comes to choosing an electric car brand it always comes down to brand loyalty. Any electric cars are like buying a pair of shoes and it all comes down to lifestyle, comfort and one’s public persona and image.
The I-PACE’s styling is beautiful as far as an SUV goes. The 22-inch wheels which are Jaguar’s signature rims and look super sporty. I always love their wheels.
This SUV is certainly about the image, a stylish lifestyle car that no matter where I parked it, I felt proud to be driving. I noticed it is still a head-turner after 4 years and the Dutch would look at it every time I parked it.
The dark navy blue looked elegant. TheI-PACE is smaller than the Jaguar F-Pace in length, but it does not feel like this on the inside thanks to the long wheelbase. Maximising space is handy here in Holland, where landmass and space are precious. It is a very compact country where I was always competing against bikes.
All in all, in the looks department the I-PACE is still better looking than its bland rivals such as the Audi E-TRON, BMW iX3 and Mercedes GQC. Which to me still look like a petrol SUVs with a battery stuck under. Whereas the I-PACE feels more groundbreaking in design.
The electrification of car transportation is happening at a fast pace, and to be truly clean you want that power that you charge with the be clean as well. This is a process as well and it will take time. On an educational trip for my children, we drove the whole length of the Rotterdam Harbour all the way to where the Maasvlakte meets the North Sea. On the GPS this was 55 kilometres in length and a large part of this harbour is used to store oil and refine oil as soon as it comes from the oil tankers. The other parts are massive container terminals and other terminals processing bulk goods. This was a stark reminder of our polluting consumption as a society.
Closer to the North Sea I finally was greeted by a lot more windmills. We made a deliberate effort to stop at the largest windmill in the world the GE Haliade-X 12MW prototype. This is a 248-metre high windmill with 107 metre long blades. It can supply electricity to 16,000 households and some of their I-PACEs.
Driving the Maasvlakte and Holland there is so much contradiction. The Dutch have reclaimed lots of land and build dikes to fight the seas and rivers that surround them. As a mother of two, I ponder so much of what kind of world and life I am leaving for my children?
I felt I am playing my part in inspiring us all when you too can buy an electric car for your next big purchase. It is good for our leafy cities and countries around Europe and UK.
Holland is all about walking and riding within the cities so driving through them in an electric car adds to this message of quietness.
My Other Likes And Dislike
The I-PACE is lovely to drive and you can read more about that sensational driving in our first Jaguar I-PACE review. Now that I got to experience the I-PACE again here are some of my likes and dislikes that stood out during my week time touring around Holland with my family.
+ Auto braking when reversing
Electric cars are quiet and some people might not notice when you are reversing out of a parking lot. To my surprise, the I-Pace automatically braked when a young child walked within range of the rear of the car.
– Door Closing
I never had a car where the doors were not closed properly before driving off. You really need to slam these babies into place. I lost count of the number of times I had to stop to make sure the rear or passenger doors were properly closed.
– Clunky Frunk
With electric cars came the front trunk also named as frunk due to the space available without a combustion engine. The Jaguar has a real small one and is useful for putting your charger cable. However, opening and closing the frunk was not easy, especially for women like me that like to have long nails and keep them.
My time in Holland was eye-opening with regards to EV charging infrastructure and how advanced and seamless it was working. In this country range anxiety does no exist especially when you have a 400Km range I-PACE and a network that has plenty of available fast chargers. The future is bright and I am sure other countries will take the Dutch lead. The I-PAce update was great in that it addressed the main weakness of the previous version of the infotainment system. The I-PACE still looks fresh and innovative, especially when compared to the bland versions of Audi, BMW and Mercedes. However, manufacturers are not sitting still with regards to electrification and more innovative and cheaper options are hitting the market which will eat into the I-PACE sales. Think of traditional non-Jaguar competitors like Hyundai’s funky Ioniq 5, VW’s ID4 and Skoda’s Eniaq. If you want to stand out with a premium brand the Jaguar I-PACE still ticks most of the boxes though.