Futuristic design and impressive range make the I-Pace a popular luxury EV option.
One complaint regarding electric cars is that they merely shift the output of the damaging emissions that result from burning fossil fuels from a car’s tailpipe to the smokestack of a local power plant. This is a valid concern. But it is significantly diminished when piloting a 2022 Jaguar I-Pace battery-powered SUV through the Coachella Valley, where almost 40 percent of the electricity generated comes from renewable sources like wind, solar, and hydropower.
Showcasing Jaguar’s historical and ongoing commitment to innovation, the I-Pace was the first electric SUV to market from a long-term automaker — what the industry refers to as a “legacy brand.” Arriving in 2018, it was available years before similar offerings from Audi, BMW, or Mercedes-Benz, some of which are only now arriving in dealer showrooms.
The newly updated 2022 I-Pace retains everything that made the original car so compelling, including elegant styling, crisp handling, and a roomy passenger compartment. The test car that I drove from Los Angeles to the desert for a long weekend with friends received an unexpected number of positive comments and thumbs-ups from passersby, including high praise from a few random strangers in the Vons parking lot in Yucca Valley.
The Jaguar I-Pace includes a 10-inch touch-screen infotainment system and a powerful Meridian 3D sound system.
While the selectable Eco driving mode extends the car’s range, switching over to Dynamic sharpens the throttle and braking response and firms up the steering, enhancing my joy on the twisty portions of Twentynine Palms Highway. (My passengers did squeal here and there, indicating that I was doing my job correctly.)
Despite hauling luggage for four, as well as the necessary food and beverage provisions, there was plenty of room for everyone, given the I-Pace’s flat interior floor and numerous bins and cubbies up front, ideal for safely storing the items we picked up from the local cannabis dispensary until they could be consumed safely, far from the car. A fully glass roof provides a sense of airiness and views of the San Jacinto Mountains, palm trees, and Joshua trees, while a new interior shade prevents passengers from baking — though an integrated roll-up shade, familiar even in models from more mainstream automakers, would be preferable to one that has to be physically removed and stored.
The 2022 I-Pace is available in only one trim level, the fully featured HSE model. Starting at $71,300 before any local, state, or federal electric vehicle incentives, this is $11,000 cheaper than the previous model year, making it a bargain (of sorts).
This price includes all manner of advanced driver assistance systems including adaptive cruise control, which allows the system to maintain a safe distance from the car in front at any set speed, and lane-keeping assist, which holds the car between the roadway lines — though at times this system felt less like an assist and more like a sparring partner, wanting to take me too close to the middle or edge of the road. We didn’t have any need for the heating feature on the 16-way power-operated front seats, but the fans cooled us down after a brief hike at Whitewater Preserve.
A Meridian 3D sound system allowed us to blast our favorite tunes when on the highway, though we turned down the volume when cruising through town or on the way to our elegant rental in the Vista Las Palmas neighborhood of Palm Springs. And while the power-operated tailgate made quick work of loading and unloading our luggage, it ended up in a bit of a battle with the automatic garage door at our rental house, which, unbeknownst to us, operated in conjunction with the sliding gate at the front of the driveway. It surprised us by suddenly closing on the open liftgate while we were unloading some additional purchases. (The liftgate was badly scratched but still fully functional.)
Internal combustion engines, for all their deficits, produce a familiar and lulling white noise at speed. Because this is lacking in electric vehicles, occupants tend to notice road and wind sounds more, particularly on the highway. It’s easy to solve by turning up the radio, but sometimes — like if you’re trying to have an important conversation about whether to eat dinner at Spencer’s Restaurant in the Tennis Club neighborhood or at 4 Saints on the rooftop of the Kimpton Rowan — that isn’t an option.
Cutting through the air at highway speeds, the side mirrors of the I-Pace made a noise that sounded disconcertingly like the constant bark of a wild dog. Fortunately, this discordant convergence was undone by the sound bath we experienced at the Integratron in Landers, near Joshua Tree.
Electric cars do create something in their drivers known as “range anxiety” — the fear that one will run out of juice and have to wait a long period of time while replenishing. Fortunately, the desert has a decent infrastructure of fast chargers, and we were able to grab some juice wherever we parked: in the public parking structures downtown while we at brunched at Sherman’s and dined at 4 Saints; in the lot at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage while we toured the massive midcentury home of the late Annenbergs; even in the liftgate-chomping garage of our rental house.
By the time we passed the giant desert windmill and solar farms on our way out of town, our car was fully juiced and ready to take us home to L.A. It seems possible that, in time, all power in this country will be produced sustainably. When it is, electric cars will be out front, leaving a minimal impact on the earth.
by the numbers
2022 Jaguar I-Pace
Price $71,300 (starting)
Torque 512 lb-ft
0–60 mph 4.5 seconds
Top speed 124 mph
Range (battery only) 234 miles
Charge time 1.5 hours at 440 volts
10.2 hours at 220 volts