A dramatic unveiling of the latest high-performance electric vehicle doesn’t have to be isolated to Tesla – even though its Model 3 release this past July was impressive. Jaguar may have just one-upped Tesla by incorporating HTC Vive’s virtual reality technology into the London unveiling of its SUV-concept called I-Pace. With its production version set to hit the streets by the fall of 2018, this will be Jaguar’s first electric model.
Featuring two electric motors sitting strategically on the front and rear axels, the I-Pace generates 400 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. Jaguar’s four-wheel drive SUV, capable of 60 mph in less than four seconds, can certainly move off the line. With a 90kWh proprietary battery pack, the I-Pace can travel approximately 220 miles on a single charge. Compared to Tesla’s Model 3 premium sedan (0-60 in under six seconds and traveling 215 miles on a single charge), Jaguar’s SUV is rather groundbreaking, performance wise.
According to Ian Callum, Jaguar’s Director of Design, “The I-Pace concept was developed on a new architecture which has been designed to optimize electric vehicle performance, aerodynamics and interior space.” Spacious enough to sit five comfortably with ample cargo space, I-Pace stays true to Jaguar’s “brand-appropriate athletic, muscular stance.”
Taking a page out of Elon Musk’s playbook, Jaguar’s live VR launch party certainly drew the attention of the tech world. Organized by Imagination and created with HTV Live, Dell, and Rewind, 66 people located in London and LA participated in an awesome virtual reality experience featuring Jaguar’s I-Pace. Russell Hall, head of the interactive team for automotive at Imagination said, “The redefining moment for changing course into the electric world really demanded an experience that could equal it.”
Jaguar’s VR experience took approximately 12 weeks to prepare and since it was an entirely new way to launch a high-tech product, it may have set a precedent. Designed specifically for a fully immersive gaming experience, HTC Vive’s VR platform allowed participants to view Jaguar’s I-Pace from every possible angle. Whether it was the SUV’s aerodynamic features its cab-forward design, people were able to inspect view Jaguar’s concept at their own leisure.
Whether it was intentional or not, the launch of Jaguar’s electric SUV showcased the potential for VR beyond gaming. “VR is so visceral, the kinesthetic learning that you get with the interaction and the content in an immersive environment has a really profound impact on how people learn, perceive and act with media,” says Vinay Narayan, HTC Vive’s Executive Director of Product Management. “The technologies that allow you to do it are existing gaming engines that a lot of developers have great experience in – so if you know how to tell a story, you can actually create something that’s immersive.”
Jaguar’s recent unveiling of its electric SUV concept is rather impressive. The company’s entry into the electric vehicle industry is a welcomed one, especially if I-Pace lives up to Jaguar’s brand image. By launching its electric vehicle concept using HTC Vive’s VR platform, people were able to experience an entirely different way of introducing cars to the world.