Jaguar I-Pace is shockingly impressive

Electric cars and the idea of cleaner transportation is taking the world by storm.

Some European governments have called for a ban on petrol and diesel-powered cars to take place within the next twenty or so years. South Africa finds itself trying to fit in with the cool kids, but can it? Will electric cars be practical here in South Africa? I spent time with the Jaguar I-Pace to find out what this all-electric car is like, in my world.

Getting connected

Auto manufacturers like Jaguar, BMW and Nissan have been investing in electric mobility in South Africa for a few years now. This resulted, with assistance from companies like Grid Cars, in a growing charging network. Most charging stations can be found at dealerships and malls but can be installed into your garage or at your office.  So now that you know where you will be charging the car, let’s find out what it’s like.


The Jaguar I-Pace looks like a normal car and I quite enjoy that it does. I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan of these overly futuristic-looking car designs that get applied to electric cars, just because they are electric. The Jaguar features a modern design with familiar styling including elements such as the signature grille up-front, the LED taillights at the rear and flowing lines which adds to the appeal. The car looks like a city slicker crossover, but most importantly, it looks like a normal car.

The same can be said about the interior. Just like on other Jaguar models you will find a large touchscreen infotainment system in the centre console. Lower down a second, smaller screen which displays a variety of options such as the climate control settings for example. One thing however that caught my attention is the lack of buttons which leaves the facia uncluttered, neat and modern. Leather and a quality feel can be experienced throughout the cabin. Luggage space is impressive at 656-litres with the rear seats up, fold them down and that space increases to around 1453-litres.

Living with an electric car

Starting a fully electric car is a rather strange sensation, you push the start button and that’s it, no noise or vibrations. On the centre console are buttons for Park, Neutral and Drive which means selecting a drive, is as easy as pushing a button. Depress the accelerator and the I-Pace surges forward with around 294 kW and just under 700 N.m. The thing about electric cars is that the power is available from the moment that you depress the accelerator. There is no turbo-lag, no waiting for the sweet spot in the rev range, it’s just get up and go albeit quietly.

So what about the charging? Jaguar claims that the I-Pace will cover a distance of around 470km, however, I found a more realistic range of around 360km which is still not bad. The biggest thing that one needs to do is adapt by planning. The biggest take-away for me was that having an electric car did not inconvenience me in terms of my time management, with proper planning and treating the vehicle like you would your smartphone, it becomes an easy car to own. I would drive to a local shopping centre that had a fast-charging station and used the card provided with the car, it is like a fuel card but for electric cars. I plugged the car into the charger, tapped the card and went to get a coffee. I sat at the coffee shop, replied to some emails and 45 minutes later I had gained an extra 200km worth of range.

Oh, but you can’t do that every morning I hear you say. Well, just like your smartphone or laptop, plug the car into the charger when you get home. By the next morning, it would have charged up. Thankfully the I-Pace does have an impressive range and the ability to regenerate some power via the braking system, it is all very clever stuff.


After my stint with the car, I must say that I enjoyed it. It’s different, exciting and I am a lot more for electrification now. Yes, South Africa and even the rest of the world have a lot to do if we are going to accommodate mass electrification. The slight infrastructure that we have here, however, in the main hubs seems to work well. As I said, you need to change how you approach this, the car is already brilliant, albeit at R1 854 200.


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