Jaguar Electric SUV Impresses. But, There Are Limitations That Make It Hard to Buy Plug-In Hybrids

The future is fast approaching with battery electric vehicles such as the Jaguar I­Pace SUV. However, because they are only capable of handling roughly 80%, they make a compelling case for plug-in hybrids.

The I-Pace is stunning to look at, inside and out. It rides quietly and securely, and it goes like the wind. The Jaguar I-Pace starts at PS65195 in Britain after taxes ($90,445, close to $70,000 in the U.S.). According to electric car enthusiasts, the average journey for a sedan or SUV is only about 30 miles. The average user will not have any problems with range. However, this ignores one important aspect of driving and vehicle usage.

If you drive 10,000 miles per year in Britain, then 8,000 of those miles will be short trips around the town. All electric cars can handle this. However, 2,000 miles might be for a vacation to Spain, Italy, or South France. Perhaps a few long-distance trips to visit family or for business, and then it’s not possible for even the most expensive electric vehicle to do so. If the car can’t do all the jobs required, why would you spend top dollar on a beautiful and elegant car?

With their affordability and range relaxation, plug-in hybrids are a great choice.

The available range of an electric car drops rapidly when it reaches highway speeds. For example, the I-Pace has a motorway range of just 125 miles, despite claiming 292 miles. My home charger couldn’t take me more than 253 miles. To avoid battery damage over the long term, you should reduce the recommended 20%. That leaves around 200 miles. According to my tests, the I-Pace delivered approximately 73.25% of its promised range at European highway speeds (often 130 km/h, or 80 mph in Europe) so that leaves about 150 miles. To be sensible, a driver would look for a charge point after 50 miles. If you are generous enough, subtract 25 so that there is 125/130. I was able to test a Polestar 2 and it showed a mere 90 mile range. It also claimed 41% less miles than the advertised rate.

This is a commonly-ignored fact about electric motoring. However, plug-in hybrids are still the most climate-friendly and versatile choice. The needs of most people who can’t afford expensive electric cars will be met by much more affordable entry-level options, which don’t currently exist.

There are some facts about electric cars that must be known. No matter how many dollars and effort the carmakers make to duplicate the internal combustion engine (ICE), it is impossible to ignore the truths. The weight of larger and more powerful batteries only adds to the vehicle’s weight. This increases the CO2 intensity and power required to transport these huge beasts. A little, low-cost diesel car for city use can still outperform an expensive electric car when driven over long distances, no matter how much money has been spent.

Arndt Ellinghorst from Bernstein Research believes that the race to get more range must stop. PHEVs can play a significant role in this.

Ellinghorst stated that “Electric Vehicles – Flex-E-Bility is the pathway to efficient and scaleable EVs” in a report titled “Electric Vehicles : We conclude it’s fair we assume that smaller battery-size BEVs and higher-range PHEVs will rule markets.”

The current plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), which include a small battery that allows for about 30 miles of battery-only driving, are currently limited to a few miles. However, many new PHEVs from BMW or Mercedes promise more.

Ellinghorst stated that a PHEV having an electric-only range of 100 miles would be sufficient to meet most driving requirements. According to the report:

* A PHEV’s manufacturing footprint is lower than that of a BEV because it has a smaller battery.

* It is cheaper than a BEV equipped with a long-range, high-capacity battery because of economies of scale.

* Because of their smaller batteries, PHEVs are lighter than long-range BEVs.

* PHEVs are an entry-level product that will allow electric mobility to grow.

* PHEVs offer more real-world useability than all-electric vehicles that have larger batteries.

Are we saying that everyone should stick with PHEV and not use BEV? No. All-electric mobility seems to be the future. Ellinghorst stated that all-electric products have problems with two segments of the market. They struggle with the entry level, which is too costly, and the long-range, which is expensive.

Brussels-based Transport & Environment, a Green advocate, hates PHEVs. Business drivers are often too busy to charge the battery as they don’t have to pay for gasoline. A vehicle that receives government subsidies to be climate friendly often uses more fuel than an ICE vehicle. They would like to ban PHEVs but it is not logical because it would make it more difficult for regular buyers who have shorter range requirements to be able to go greener at a lower price.

Ellinghorst also agrees that these vehicles, if used sensibly, can help to boost the green revolution.

The plugin hybrid is more affordable (and thus less expensive) and can provide longer range travel for those rare occasions when it is required. This requires consumers to charge their PHEVs overnight. Ellinghorst stated that PHEVs are often not charged overnight at the moment. This is why they are being criticized in the public and their subsidies challenged.”

Jaguar will switch to all-electric vehicles by 2025, and the XE/XF sedans won’t be renewed. Jaguar’s big Jaguar XJ limo was originally going to be an electric model. It may reappear in a fuel-cell version.

If you aren’t convinced that PHEVs play a significant role, think about the summer 2022 when more than a million electric vehicles will be in Europe according to Schmidt Automotive Research. There will be long lines at filling stations for ICE cars on the highways leading to the south. What would you prefer to drive south in an electric car or a hybrid? Is it possible to measure how long you spend driving south in a BEV in minutes or in days?

Jaguar I-Pace SE

Power – 395 HP

Battery – 90 kWh lithium ion 388V

Electric Motor – 2 permanent magnets synchronously

Torque – Front/rear motors 348 Nm

Claimed range: 253-292 miles (WLTP).

Claimed consumption: 35.4 kWh to39.8 kWh/100 miles

All-wheel drive

Gearbox – automatic

Acceleration – 0-60 MPH 4.5 Seconds

Top Speed – 125 MPH

Price: PS76,045after taxes and government grants ($106,000).

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