Jaguar’s Formula E Experience Is Influencing I-PACE Development
Jaguar is using its Formula E racing experience to develop a worthy contender to the Tesla Model X.
Jaguar’s Formula E team has learned many valuable lessons that will heavily influence the automaker’s first EV; the upcoming I-PACE SUV.
As Jaguar was gearing up for the Paris ePrix, Williams Advanced Engineering director, Craig Wilson, shared some insight with Autocar. He believes that the I-PACE will put up a good fight with the Tesla Model X, due to active data sharing between Jaguar Racing and the consumer automotive division. This is essential since Jaguar has little experience in the world of EVs, especially compared to Tesla. He shared:
“Clearly with Formula E we’re racing so it’s very competitive in all areas, but specifically there’s a big crossover [with automotive] in thermal management. There’s a lot that we can do with software and algorithms, and [in Formula E] we’re learning a lot from braking regeneration and simulations.”
Wilson said that the information sharing is actually helping both sides to succeed. Work on the I-PACE is making the Formula E car better.
“The automotive team are getting good information for protection systems around the high voltage electrics, to make sure that we don’t cause any trips or component failures from a reliability point of view. This information is being given back to the racing team.”
Jaguar entered Formula E later than most competitors, which parallels the automaker’s entry into EVs. Wilson said the fact that both divisions have been in a race has pushed them to work harder, and work together.
“It’s been a very aggressive, heads down approach [for Formula E]. I-Pace is going through a similar journey with a dedicated project team, so there’s definitely good understanding between the two teams and how to optimise the work.”
Not only is the collaboration a benefit, but just being involved in Formula E brings attention to Jaguar as an EV company, and gives the automaker the ability to get that message to the community. Jaguar’s racing director, Jim Barclay, stressed the importance of this happening prior to the I-PACE hitting the market. It makes Jaguar’s new product more reputable. He told Autocar:
“By 2020, nearly half our range will have electric or hybrid electric powertrains. So from our point of view, that’s where we’re going so absolutely there’s a plan in place [with Formula E] to communicate that.”
“From a consumer point of view, to see technology that’s developed in racing, it becomes clear that we’re not just developing a car that’s fantastic on range, it’s also great to drive and you will be able to push in terms of performance.”
“For us as Jaguar it’s always been about producing a good driver’s car. Formula E is not just pushing efficiency, it’s also pushing us to maximise performance.”