Electric cars are the future. Granted, internal combustion is likely to stay the dominant form of powerplant for automobiles for the next couple decades, but the rapid pace of technological advancement means EVs become a more viable replacement for ICE vehicles with every passing year.
While early electric-powered automobiles were slow, boring jellybeans, subsequent generations have been sleeker, faster and cooler in ways people could never have anticipated at the dawn of the 21st century. Tesla, obviously, has largely led this charge, but Jaguar’s I-Pace crossover has also helped carve out a bold new audience for EVs, offering a compelling blend of design, performance and range that helped it win the titles of World Car of the Year, Green Car of the Year, and Design of the Year at the World Car Awards this year.
But it seems JLR isn’t content to leave the I-Pace be. While its 395 horsepower and twin electric motors make it feel like one of the peppiest rides on sale today, the carmaker is already planning a higher-performance variant.
In a recent story, Michael van der Sande, Jaguar Land Rover’s head of Special Vehicle Operations (the division in charge of stellar rides such as the XE SV Project 8 and the Range Rover SVAutobiography), told Autocar that it was a question of “when, not if” his team would build an I-Pace SVR.
Van der Sande was short on details, but considering the playbook set by previous SVR models, any high-performance I-Pace would likely pack a significant power boost over the regular version. The F-Pace SVR crossover and F-Type SVR sports car make around 150-180 horsepower more than their non-SVR brethren; if SVO did something similar to the electric SUV, it would push the power up close to 600 horses — enough to potentially challenge Tesla’s Ludicrous Mode-equipped Model X P100D at a stoplight grand prix.
The SVO boss did mention that the division had learned quite a few lessons from the I-Pace eTrophy racing car (pictured above), which competes in a single-series competition that runs on the same tracks as Formula E races.
“Those cars all come from our base in Oxford Road, and they’ve taught us a lot,” van der Sande told Autocar. “The battery’s duty cycle is very different in racing. We’ve already learned plenty about battery management, heat management and software development that could be useful for road cars.”
Still, an I-Pace SVR isn’t guaranteed. That same Autocar story says the decision whether or not to build it will ultimately come down to how well pricier versions of the electric crossover sell. So if you really want to see a 600-hp electric crossover that accelerates and handles like a super sports car hit the streets…well, go out and grab an I-Pace off your local dealer’s lot. They’re great — and Jaguar has plenty lying around.
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