Jaguar's Luxury EV Concept Gets A Hollywood VR Event Reveal

Jumping the green flag on the start of the Los Angeles Auto Show Friday, Jaguar took the wraps off its I-Pace electric luxury SUV in a virtual reality event staged at Milk Studios in Hollywood Sunday evening. 

The show “began with guests being ushered into a large cavernous room lined on each side with nooks big enough to fit a large round table and seats. After sitting down, each guest was given a virtual reality headset,” writesFortune’s Kirsten Korosec.

The I-Pace, which should hit showrooms in 2018, was then “unveiled simultaneously to an audience in Los Angeles and London through VR using HTC Vive headsets and Dell Precision PCs,” Adario Strange reports for Mashable. “With celebrities including Michelle Rodriguez (“Fast and Furious”), Miranda Kerr and James Corden (“Carpool Karaoke”) in attendance, the vehicle's designers, Ian Callum and Ian Hoban, introduced the next-gen electric vehicle. 



“In addition to the virtual presences of the designers and animations showing how the vehicle handles, VR viewers were also transported to Venice Beach with a view from inside and outside the vehicle. At one point in the VR presentation, viewers watched as pieces of the car fell from outer space and assembled around them on Earth,” Strange continues.

Lest we get lost in the not-really-real, the car itself has some notable features, too.

“Instead of simply fitting the new Jaguar F-Pace SUV with lithium-ion batteries and calling it a day, the famed British brand called on … Callum to come up with something completely different,” writes Chris Woodyard for USA Today. “He did. Freed of the limitations of a big gas engine up front, Callum went with a cab-forward design that, at least in the prototype, stretches the wheelbase with almost no overhang at either end.” 

“There's nothing in the market like it,” according to Anna Gallagher, global launch manager for the I-Pace. 

That may be so, but it will be competing for upscale buyers with the likes of the Tesla Model X crossover, which launched last year, as well as electrified SUVs from Bentley, Porsche, Lamborghini, Rolls-Royce, Aston Martin, Audi, Maserati and more, as Eric Adams points out for Wired. But it’s a good time for Jaguar, he writes, which is “enjoying a massive sales surge and basking in stellar reviews of its new F-Pace SUV.” 

“As the I-Pace moves to production, it will likely drop its more fanciful design elements,” Adams suggests, citing features such as its “massive 23-inch wheels and micro-LED lights embedded in the panoramic glass sunroof” but he says the “the team is confident its sleek aerodynamics will persist.”

It’s not just nice to look at, however. 

“On the performance end, all-wheel drive, 400hp, and 516 lb-ft. of torque translate to a 0 to 60 mph sprint of about 4.0 seconds,” Miles Branman reports for Digital Trends.

“Electric motors provide immediate response with no lag, no gearshifts, and no interruptions,” remarked Ian Hoban, Jaguar’s vehicle line director. “Their superior torque delivery compared to internal combustion engines transforms the driving experience.”

Just as EVs are transforming the luxury market.

“The number of all-electric models available in the U.S. is expected to triple to 19 by 2020, according to credit-rating firm Moody’s Investors Service. Sales of small electric sedans, such as Nissan Motor Co.’s Leaf and BMW’s i3, have been disappointing so far,” reports Tim Higgins for the Wall Street Journal.

“Overall sales of high-end SUVs have been bright spot in the U.S. auto industry, garnering a 52% share of the overall U.S. luxury car market through October this year, up from 40% of sales in 2013, according to data provider LMC Automotive. Auto makers are eager to sell SUVs because they command higher prices than smaller cars, and they’re increasingly popular with luxury car buyers,” Higgins writes.

There’s a reason for that. 

“With a mandate that zero-emission vehicles make up 15% of automakers' California sales by 2025, the state is driving carmakers to roll out carbon-free vehicles in an environment of uncertain future demand. At the same time, cheap gasoline is propelling a shift among U.S. consumers toward larger vehicles, particularly SUVs,” writes Reuters’ Amanda Sage. “The move by Jaguar is a response to those conflicting pressures, executives said.”

“Sales of electrified vehicles could rise to about 35% of global sales by 2040, or 41 million cars, according to a report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. That compares with sales of less than 1 million this year, according to forecaster IHS Automotive,” writeBloomberg’s Jamie Butters and Elisabeth Behrmann. 

“We’re just at the beginning,” Finbar McFall, Jaguar Land Rover’s global product marketing director, tells them. “The market’s going to grow because of new entrants, and that will be a really healthy thing.”

Gentlepeople, push your buttons and engage your batteries, the race is on.

Next story loading loading..