South Africa


Electric Monday in Jaguar’s updated I-Pace

Electric Monday in Jaguar’s updated I-Pace
The Jaguar I-Pace Black Edition. (Photo: Supplied)

Despite the word ‘electricity’ being tantamount to a swearword this past week, the Jaguar I-Pace recently showed off its charged-up swag sans range anxiety.

The Boomtown Rats ruined Mondays for me. And Eskom’s ruined every single other day this past week. But let’s home in on the first day of the week for now.

It was 1979. I’d just got to high school when I Don’t Like Mondays hit the charts. I spent many hours that year, entranced, as the song was belted out on Radio 5. 

I was even more intrigued when I discovered that lead singer of the Rats, Bob Geldof, had written it, inspired by 16-year-old American teenager, Brenda Ann Spencer, who went on a killing spree at a junior school in San Diego in January of that year. 

After mowing down two adults and injuring eight children, when asked “why?”, Brenda apparently told a reporter, “I don’t like Mondays. This livens up your day.”

While I had no intention of pulling a Columbine, a whole lot of Monday-bunking subsequently ensued courtesy of the tune. And from then, right up till now, four decades later, I’ve tried to avoid Mondays whenever possible. 

You might be wondering why the hell I’m talking about mass shooting sprees in a review of the all-electric I-Pace? For one, I’m trying hard to distract from the disaster called Eskom.

The other has to do with an invitation I recently received from Jaguar Landrover to embark on a tempting tour in their iconic all-electric I-Pace.  

Glancing at the itinerary — lunch in Franschhoek, an overnight at Babylonstoren, ending up at Tintswalo Atlantic for a sea view lunch the following day, it wasn’t so much the promise of 5-star luxury that had me accepting the invite — what really got me sold was that the event kicked off on my and Brenda Ann Spencer’s most reviled day. I immediately accepted.

So I woke up on a Monday, uncharacteristically upbeat, excited to go all electric. It was the Monday before the Eskom strike, so thankfully our steeds were fully charged, quick-quick.

The I-Pace has been around for a while and created a proper stir in the world of motoring when it was released back in 2018. Up till this point, the electric vehicle scene had been primarily dominated by Tesla, established in 2003. And then, of course, there was the iconic Toyota Prius — but it’s a hybrid.

Designed by Scotsman Ian Callum, who had made his mark as one of the designers of the Aston Martin DB7 before joining Jaguar Landrover, along with the I-Pace, he would go on to design a sterling list of winners for the British manufacturer over the next two decades. 

I happened to see one in the metal flesh — the futuristic-looking concept Jaguar C-X75 as it was unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2010. It was a memorable beaut, although, sadly, the supercharged racer never made it into production.

In 2013, Callum came up with the full design of the F-Type, the XE in 2015 and the F-Pace in 2016, Jaguar’s first foray into SUVs. But it would be the I-Pace in 2018 that would lead to him earning an OBE the following year.

On our recent jag-slag adventure, the I-Pace suavely displayed why it’s won almost 70 awards over the past four years, including the European Car of Year in 2019, as well as that year’s highly coveted World Car of the Year. 

On a trip that entailed scenic driving in and around Franschhoek, some gravel, as well as the twisty bends of the Cape Peninsula, I got to drive the Black Edition — the sole model on offer locally, with its gloss black finish on the rear badges.

jaguar i-pace

While its super-powerful acceleration, racing from 0-100km in just 4.8 seconds, and sublime torque of 692Nm impressed, it was the way this SUV cat stealthily took to the roads in all its hi-tech and premium dead-silent glory. (Photo: Supplied)

While its super-powerful acceleration, racing from 0-100km in just 4.8 seconds and sublime torque of 692Nm impressed, it was the way this SUV cat stealthily took to the roads in all its hi-tech and premium dead-silent glory. 

It was also surprisingly good on dirt as well as, of course, on open roads and superb on twisty bends, due to its clever weight distribution, courtesy of the heavy battery’s low placement.

This updated I-Pace underwent a minor facelift in 2021 to include a refreshed cabin equipped with JLR’s advanced “Pivi Pro” infotainment system. Then there’s revised Bluetooth tech and a dual modem embedded SIM, which can conveniently pair two phones simultaneously.

Additionally, there’s also a handy 3D Surround Camera, allowing the driver a 360-degree view of all surroundings because you really don’t want to ding the body or scratch the rims of this pricy SUV.  

If money isn’t too tight to mention, for music lovers, the optional Meridian 3D Surround Sound System is a must, with its 16 speakers and a subwoofer. 

Under the bonnet, the big change is a new 11kW onboard charger which now allows for faster charging times via three-phase electricity supplies — which is, at this point, where we get to a topic that’s become a proper swearword this past week. (It’s no surprise that the go-to app where most of us get our “blackout” schedules is called EskomSePush.)

With consumers recently experiencing some of the darkest days and nights in South Africa’s load shedding history, power outages have been eating into around 10 hours of a 24-hour day.

It’s little wonder that, with such a dismal national power supplier, electric vehicles have not taken off in this country, accounting for a minuscule fraction of overall sales in the passenger vehicle market.

The I-Pace, which has been around for the longest when it comes to electric SUVs, has only managed to flog just over 100 units since its debut in 2019. 

Audi recently threw down the electric gauntlet by launching its comprehensive range of e-trons. I’ll be keenly following its sales figures. 

Besides unattainably high pricing for most cash-strapped motorists, caused by unjustifiably high taxation by the government on EVs, the most common resistance to purchasing an electric car is of course our national power non-supplier. 

Without a doubt, pathetic Eskom has severely compromised the perception of these vehicles in the eyes of most consumers. But the ever-rising high cost of fuel and steep carbon taxes may force local car buyers to rethink their penchant for internal combustion engines. The truth is that EVs are way cheaper to run than ICEs.

Jaguar recently did some real-life testing over seven days to track the electricity consumption and cost per kilometre (R/km) of the fully electric Jaguar I-Pace compared with the fuel costs of an average ICE vehicle.

i-pace charging

Under the bonnet, the big change is a new 11kW onboard charger which now allows for faster charging times via three-phase electricity supplies. (Photo: Supplied)

While range is of course a consideration — the Jaguar I-Pace has one of 470km — it was the cost per kilometre that was being calculated.

After tracking consumption over a week in various driving situations, like heavily congested traffic and open-road cruising, the I-Pace averaged around 22kWh/100km. Simply put, the Jaguar EV costs in the region of 22 cents per kilometre if charged at home, where the national household cost average is around R2 per unit of electricity. The same consumption figures are claimed for Audi’s e-tron.

In real money terms — assuming one is charging at home, which is the cheapest option — to fill the I-Pace would cost less than R200. To fill a normal petrol or diesel vehicle that’s averaging, say, a moderate  6l/100km, would cost more than four times that amount. 

For a thirstier gas guzzler on par with the I-Pace’s performance outputs, where fuel consumption may easily average 12l/100km and more, the ICE will cost around six times more to refuel.

With the price of petrol and diesel so volatile, these calculations may even be more in favour of going all-electric in months to come, as petrol and diesel snake their way towards the R30/l mark.

And when it gets to Eskom se Poes, I mean Push, we have all become accustomed to watching our load shedding schedules and adapting accordingly. Despite being subjected to Stage 6 this week, we’ve somehow still managed to charge our phones and laptops.

Having an electric car would be much like having any other appliance that needs to be charged. You check the schedule and power up. And then, of course, there’s always solar…


Jaguar I-Pace Black Edition — R2,029,800. DM


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  • Johan Buys says:

    Pedantic : if the car uses 22kWh/100km and electricity is R2/kWh then the cost is 44c/km not 22c/km. Anyway it is a fraction of fuel. I’m on second EV and my feeling is they are brilliant commuter cars. This thing with R2m and R3m high performance is silly. Even better would be electric buses and electric city delivery vehicles as they really spew smog. EV will become massive, but perhaps it will take a lot longer in SA with its price problem. They need to be price neutral for same model ICE vs EV

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