The crossover is being built by Magna Steyr, a vehicle manufacturing division of Canadian supplier Magna International. Although Jaguar engineers created the vehicle, Magna Steyr has had a significant say in the I-Pace project from the beginning.
“We were invited very early in the product development time frame in order to provide our process and manufacturing engineering proposals,” Friedrich Stracke, Magna Steyr’s president of vehicle technology and engineering, told AN.
“We tried to include the right processes in the product early on…We led from the manufacturability point of view. We did this for every function — body exterior, drivetrain, body interior, body in white, paint. We did this with all functions and optimized the design.”
It’s no easy task to build a vehicle from the ground up. Not only is the I-Pace entering production at a new body shop in Magna Steyr’s plant, it also sits on a brand new architecture and has a new drivetrain. Plus, Stracke says the model’s aluminum body will require using new joining methods such as the welding, riveting, and bonding of aluminum. The I-Pace will mark Jaguar’s first foray into electric vehicles.
The first copies of the I-Pace are currently being built. The SUV will launch in Europe later this year before heading to the U.S. in 2018.
Stracke is making some big claims about the I-Pace’s performance. “The acceleration is unbelievable; it is faster than Tesla,” he said. “You press the accelerator and it pushes you back into the seat.”
Jaguar introduced a concept version of the I-Pace midsize crossover last year. The model, which measured just 2 inches shorter in length than the F-Pace, boasted two electric motors that produce a total output of 400 hp. Jaguar estimated a 0-60 time of about 4 seconds, which doesn’t quite put it in the same category as the Model X, the quickest SUV Motor Trend has ever tested. Of course, we’ll have to wait and see what’s in store for the production I-Pace.
Magna Steyr has a history of producing vehicles for other automakers. It has built the Aston Martin Rapide, and reports say the company will also produce the sports car jointly developed by BMW and Toyota.
Pictured is the Jaguar I-Pace Concept.