Jaguar's first electric car makes going green fun, painless and quite fashionable
Jaguar's first electric car I-Pace is an ace The Jaguar I-Pace's low centre of gravity, wide tracks, all-wheel-drive and battery bank make it a natural around bends. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

A car like the Jaguar I-Pace makes you a better driver, in more ways than one.

The electric Jag, styled like a low-slung crossover, is stupendously quick.

Its sizzling 4.8-second century sprint aside, the car has nearly 700Nm of torque - all available from the word go - to grant it plenty of liberties in any situation.

Its top speed is limited though (in this case, to 200kmh), which means it might lose out on an unrestricted highway or a race circuit - both of which are in short supply here.

But in real-world motoring, the I-Pace will lane-change, merge, overtake and fill gaps in the shortest possible notice. It grants you immediacy like no other carrier and with mindless ease too.

And endowed with a low centre of gravity, wide tracks, all-wheel-drive and a battery bank acting as ballast, it is a natural around bends. Its sturdy steering and firm - if a little reactive - suspension setting contribute too.

As incredibly speedy as it is, the I-Pace does not always goad you to go fast. To the contrary, it is likely to make you more gracious, since giving way will not cost very much.

In high-regenerative mode, lifting off slows the car down enough - without you having to activate the peculiarly soft brakes - to allow others to pass. In doing so, you are also recharging the battery cells.

Because the car affords an insane level of torque and responsiveness, picking up from where you left off is absolutely painless.

The story is completely different for a combustion-engined car. Or a lesser electric model.

Equipped with two high-powered motors driving both axles, the Jag has 400hp going to all its wheels.

Juice comes from a 90kWh lithium-ion battery pack, giving the car the longest range among all electric vehicles tested here.

Over a four-day test-drive, it clocked 250km, with some 60km remaining - translating to a full range of at least 300km. Under the new Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure, the car has a range of 470km.

In reality, a range of 300km is quite adequate, even for those who wish to drive to Malaysia, where many of the major cities have charging facilities.

Whether over a long or short haul, life in the I-Pace is rather pleasant.

The car is decked out like a concept car, with an ultra-chic cockpit showcasing new design possibilities: push buttons that replace Jaguar's familiar rotary gear selector; nautical-style captain seats up front; a slimmer dashtop; and plenty of stylish storage spaces (on top of an enormous boot).

All these because there is no bulky drivetrain.

The cabin commensurates with the car's luxury status, with fittings, quality of materials and amenities on a par with cars in the $300,000 segment. Its silence and refinement on the go, however, surpass even those in the $1-million segment.

Its credentials as a crossover extend beyond its styling. The I-Pace is equipped with a slew of traction aids and has an impressive wading depth of 500mm.

The other bonus is its low running cost. The average driver here will incur only about $20 a week of electricity charges. As it has far fewer moving parts than a petrol Jag, it requires servicing once every two years or 34,000km.

These offset its rather high annual road tax of $5,800.

All said, the I-Pace is an ace - a car which embodies fun, frugality and the future.