As everyone knows, many of the OEMs are adding EVs to their lineups. I worked at an EV startup for almost three years, so I’m always keen to see what other companies are doing. For instance, I must confess I’m no fan of the Tesla center display layout. Call me traditional, but I like relevant driving information right in front of me in my line-of-site for driving. Anyway, while walking around the LA Auto Show, I got to poke around the new Jaguar I-PACE. It’s the first performance-oriented luxury EV to market to challenge Tesla with Audi and Porsche coming in hot too. Shortly after the LA Auto Show, Jaguar had an event in Santa Monica where I got to drive the I-PACE too. It’s quick.
There are a lot of parallels between designing cars for motorsport and maximum efficiency with one of those being minimizing aero drag. The I-PACE has this massive front air channel kinda like the Ferrari 488 Pista. The door handles retract to create a flush and low drag surface. My buddies and I debated on seeing what would happen if we left our fingers in the way of the door handle as it went to retract, but none of us wanted to be the guinea pig.
This is the slot from the front. The front grill is just decorative as EVs don’t have the same cooling requirements as cars powered by internal combustion engines. Just some approximate numbers, but electric motors, li-ion batteries, and high-voltage inverters are all in the ballpark of 90%-95% efficient. The electrical current flows from the battery to the HV inverters to the motors. Worst case, an EV is around 73% efficient and best case around 86%. Give or take. The gas engine in a Prius running Atkinson cycle is around 40% efficient. I estimated the Mazda Skyactiv-X will be around 45% which is around where diesel engines are. Needless to say, your average gas engine is below 40% efficient. As EVs are a lot more efficient, they have a lot less heat they have to reject. Hence, they have much smaller openings for cooling airflow.
Popping the hood on the I-PACE shows the body panels required for the air slot. Check out those extra brackets needed for the hood latches.
Common on EVs is a frunk because EV related parts don’t take up as much space as engines.