Last week I said goodbye to my 2019 Jaguar I-Pace electric car, and it is with mixed emotions I write this column as a result.
On the positive side, I enjoyed this car more than any other car I’ve driven, and I’ve driven many cars, including exotics. But the death of my I-Pace showcases several ongoing problems with electric vehicles that still exist today.
While this ended well for me, thanks largely to USAA insurance and Jaguar of Portland, I want to share my experience so that those of you considering an electric car are better prepared for the unique issues of EV ownership.
We’ll close with my Product of the Week, a new, integrated conferencing bar called the Parlé (cute name) from Biamp that might be perfect for those in the entertainment business.
Let’s get to it.
Why I Bought an I-Pace
The reason I bought the Jaguar I-Pace is that I was one of the designated analysts that covered the launch. Dell was providing the VR technology and back-end for the event and asked if I wanted to be their launch analyst. Since I had driven several Teslas and found them wanting, I was in the market for an electric car that wasn’t a Tesla, so I agreed to do it.
At the launch, which was almost magical in execution, I fell in love with the design of the I-Pace, which, to my eye, is one of the most beautiful non-sportscars on the market. The car was initially released in Europe, and I wanted one of the first in the U.S.
Initial delivery of the car was problematic because the dealer hadn’t charged the battery before delivery. Normally this wouldn’t be a big issue, but I live 180 miles uphill from the dealer, and it was winter which reduced the effective range of the car to very close to that 180-mile distance even if the car was fully charged, which it was not.
Even on a Level 3 fast charger, the last 10% or so of the charge goes slowly, so you don’t cook the battery. Charging generates heat, and lithium-ion batteries don’t like heat because it ages the battery very quickly. So, I left the dealer without a full charge.
Back in 2019, non-Tesla public Level 3 chargers were rare. Around 30 miles from home, the car showed less than 10 miles of range.
We attempted to charge the car in a town with one of the few Level 2 chargers that existed back then. Using a Level 2 charger to charge the battery completely would have taken nearly 24 hours. We only needed 30 miles, but it was late, a Telsa was already using the charger, and by the time it left, we’d already been at that location for nearly an hour.
So, we charged the car while enjoying a meal at McDonald’s, forgetting that the estimated range is based on a flat road in summer, not a climb in winter. As a result, around five miles from home, the car went into low-power mode and shut down completely just as I rolled into the garage.
At that point, to say that I really understood range anxiety would be an understatement.
Issues With Brand-New Cars
The next day I wanted to take the car for a drive only to find that a software update that had happened overnight had disabled several features, including the entire center console. So, I called Jaguar Roadside Assistance. They sent out a flatbed truck (you can’t tow an electric car), and I was without a car for several weeks. Given that I was 180 miles from the dealer, I didn’t get a loaner, either.
Once Jaguar fixed the code and it was installed in the car, it was returned to me on a flatbed.
In the interim, someone had dry-wiped the car (we use volcanic ash on the roads during the winter here), which scratched the paint so badly that it effectively needed to be repainted to fix the scratches. Sadly, I wasn’t aware it was that bad and eventually had the car wrapped to cover those scratches.
When you buy a car that is brand new to the market, everyone who will service it is just learning. The tradeoff for having something unique and draws lots of attention is that you’ll experience the learning curve of everyone that services the car.
Now, I regularly buy cars that are this new, so I’m used to having issues, but it is unusual that four years after the car was released, there were still significant learning-curve issues.
My I-Pace Journey Unfolds
Once I got the car back, I loved it and never had another major issue with it, with the exception that the one free initial service I had in the car wasn’t free because I couldn’t get to the dealer in the allotted time. After all, the snow had made driving the passes dangerous.
By the time the snow cleared and it was safe to drive to Portland, my free service had expired. I’m still a bit annoyed at this because forcing a driver to travel unsafely to get a service included in the purchase of the car seems just a tad insensitive and foolish.
I truly loved driving the car. It cornered flat, and the acceleration, while not up to Tesla levels (0-60 in 4.5 seconds), was in line with my track car at the time, and that car was a beast. That Jaguar was quiet; it was very pleasant to drive, and over the years, I’ve only seen one other I-Pace where I live, and apparently, they were just visiting as I only saw that car once.
People would regularly ask about the car and compliment me on it, which is why I like to buy cars like this. But generally, this drops off after a few months as more cars arrive. With the I-Pace, this never happened, and it continued to draw interest and perform flawlessly until it died.
I had a three-and-a-half-year lease, and I had the opportunity to turn the car in after the lease but realized that my residual on the car was a lot less than its market value. So instead of turning it in, I bought it from the leasing company. Part of the reason I did that was that it was such a good deal. However, another reason was that I hadn’t found anything better, including from Tesla.
Everything was fine until March 30, when it suddenly wasn’t.
The Death and Rebirth of an I-Pace
On March 30, I flew home from Chicago, arriving early in the afternoon. When I got to my car and attempted to start it, it flashed a ton of alerts and then turned itself off. I couldn’t even put the car into neutral or release the e-brake. When I called Portland Jaguar for advice, hoping it was something I could address, they told me to call Jaguar Roadside Assistance using the in-car emergency button — which worked impressively well.
After waiting several hours for someone to show up, I called again, only to find they had mistakenly set the car for a 24-to-48-hour pickup because they thought the car was at my home and not in an airport parking lot.
Once that was cleared up, a tow truck driver arrived within 30 minutes with a flatbed truck. But the car is around 5,000 lbs. With the tires all locked up, there wasn’t enough power on the tow to pull the car out of the parking spot to put it on the flatbed.
I left the keys with the truck driver, who promised to bring a more powerful truck and get the car to Jaguar the following day (Friday), which he did. Then my nightmare began.
The following Tuesday, they diagnosed the problem and were able to fix it relatively quickly. It was the power distribution box that had failed, which is unusual in any electric vehicle. But, when the dealer called to tell me they were done with my car, they indicated I had another problem which turned out to be terminal.
The tow truck driver, who was experienced and very careful with the car, had secured it improperly, which cut into and warped the primary propulsion battery. That battery, which takes up the entire underside of the car, would need to be replaced, and the estimate to do the work was $100,000, which was more than twice what the car was worth.
The dealer told me to call my insurance company (I still think they should have called Jaguar Roadside Assistance first because it was their subcontractor who damaged the car).
After telling me I was covered, and then telling me I wasn’t, and putting me into a near panic, USAA insurance did total the car and pay me for it. I had a replacement cost rider on my policy which netted out approximately $55,000 or around half of what I paid for the car but also around $10,000 more than what Kelly Blue Book indicated the vehicle was worth.
The rebirth part is that I bought another I-Pace from the dealer, a 2022 demo car with under 1,000 miles, for $75,000, meaning I effectively upgraded the car to current for $20,000, which I still think is a good deal.
Both the dealer and USAA made the process relatively painless and fast — the quickest I’ve ever bought a new car, thanks to Jaguar of Portland. Now I’m the proud owner of another Jaguar I-Pace. Even though there are other interesting electric cars out there, the waiting lists are long, and I didn’t want to do without a car for what looked like over a year.
I drove that car home, with a full charge this time, and while I’m missing one of my favorite features of my old I-Pace and I’m back to a stock paint color rather than the color-shifting wrap and powder-coated matching wheels of my old car, I’m still loving the new I-Pace.
Electric cars other than Tesla — of which I’m not a fan, and given the number of recalls, known safety issues, and ho-hum look of that car — are still very new, and people just aren’t familiar with how to work with them.
The tow truck driver had towed and secured my vehicle incorrectly, but I might have made the same mistake in looking at what he did. Car companies still don’t seem to be giving tow truck companies information on how to properly tow and secure their cars, which can cause accidents like this.
Warping and penetrating a lithium-Ion battery pack is extremely dangerous and can result in massive car fires that are hard to put out. If you have an electric car, it would be wise to know how to have the car towed if you don’t want it to be totaled.
I-Pace drivers can see the thread on that process on I-Pace Forum. Basically, when you have a complete power failure like I did, releasing the e-brake is problematic, and you have to use a dolly to lift the car off its rear wheels in order to tow it.
While this will all be a thing of the past once we get to 2030, for now, if you have an electric car, you’ll need to know how to do things to and with it that you wouldn’t need in a gas-powered car. Often, you’ll be the closest thing to an expert on it in the room.
Given that I’m a moderator for this I-Pace forum, you’d think I’d have known this. So, learn from my experience and avoid learning from your own.
I’m getting to know my new I-Pace, and while I’m missing my old favorite feature — the dash would change when you put the car into dynamic high-performance mode, which the new one doesn’t do — I’m enjoying driving the new car almost as much as driving my old one, though I’m missing the color changing wrap shown here.
Photo by Author
Parlé VBC 2500 Conferencing Bar
While companies now appear to be rethinking work-from-home, and with some CEOs looking particularly heartless now, most of us still seem to want to work remotely, so companies continue to equip conference rooms with ever more advanced video conferencing technology.
One of the best of these products is a conferencing bar from Biamp that seems particularly well suited to the entertainment market or anyone who wants excellent speaker performance (more critical when you are working on soundtracks and music) or who just wants to use a conference room as an occasional place to relax and listen to music.
The Biamp Parlé VBC 2500 is arguably the best-sounding conferencing bar I’ve ever tested. It works for both inbound and outbound sound because it has market-leading speakers and a 17-element microphone array that picks up voices from anyone in a mid-sized conference room and can convey a musical number with minimal sound degradation.
Image Credit: Biamp
Now you’d think sound this good would be over the top for a conference room, but back when I worked in an office, I’d often eat my lunch with co-workers in a conference room because often companies would prefer you eat in the office than go out because it takes less time off the clock. Being able to play music from the conferencing system as background would have been a plus to my experience.
Biamp’s Parlé has a decent camera with auto-framing, 5x zoom, a 12MB video sensor providing 4K video output, a privacy shutter that automatically covers the camera when not in use, and premium optics and advanced image processing built in.
At around $2,500, the Parlé VBC 2500 isn’t a cheap date. In fact, it is one of the more expensive conferencing products, but it puts that cost to good use with excellent optics and magnificent sound. So, the Parlé VBC 2500 conference bar is my Product of the Week.