By Nigel Wigmore
The chances are that many more of us will be taking a ride down reggae star Eddy Grant’s fabled Electric Avenue in the next decade.
Within the next 10 years — and remember that brings us perilously close to 2040, when our own government has called for an end to all sales of petrol- and diesel-powered cars — electric cars will be everywhere.
But that is nothing to sing about, I hear you say. What about the issues of mileage, range, the “woeful” current infrastructure of electric charging points, and the alleged burden on the National Grid?
Well, the race down Electric Avenue is happening already with carmakers worldwide committing workforces and huge resources to turning out new and improved electric vehicles.
And of course, entrepreneurs and digital giants are also getting in on the act with the likes of Apple, Google and James Dyson working hard to develop electric and driverless vehicles.
Recently I went to a Jaguar Land Rover event at Stoke Park, Buckinghamshire, where the Solihull-based carmaker — Britain’s largest — was showing off a variety of vehicles.
But what caught my eye — and I have to say my imagination — was JLR’s excellent all-electric vehicle, the Jaguar I- Pace.
Now, the first thing you have to note about this Jaguar is its performance which was, er, simply electric.
The all-electric Jaguar I-Pace takes off instantly, as all electric cars — even the most modest — have instant torque (pulling power) available.
Simply put, there is no waiting for engine revs to catch up, as with a conventional internal combustion engine.
So this particular big cat achieves a 0-60mph rating of 4.5 seconds — which approaches supercar performance territory — and has a range of 292 miles.
With the recent news that JLR has embarked on a two-year cost-cutting plan following the slump in diesel sales and poor sales in China, the carmaker is not at present in a happy place.
However, if as is predicted the electric car continues to take off globally, JLR is well placed with the I-Pace to compete in this market.
That will no doubt be at the luxury end of the electric vehicle market, as the I-Pace is priced from £59,995 (including government incentives).
But that so-important car market in China has to wake up to the fact that a) the country has to tackle its burgeoning pollution problem and b) electric cars such as the Jaguar I-Pace might help.
Certainly, the plaudits have already been out for this cutting-edge zero emissions performance SUV. The Jaguar I-Pace was named electric vehicle of the year by the BBC’s Top Gear magazine, car of the year by the Sunday Times, and Germany and Norway’s cars of the year — to name but a few of the awards heaped upon it.
So what makes this electric car so special? Well, the drive is something else. I was blown away by its performance around the byways of Buckinghamshire.
The handling is secure and feels safe, and there is a quality to the finish on this car that is palpable from the moment you get behind the wheel.
And the I-Pace is stacked out with new technology. For example, one of the great anxieties for drivers of electric cars — and believe me I have experienced this and it is not a comfortable way to go about your day to day business — is the chronic lack of range in some electric vehicles.
The I-Pace, with its large 292 miles of motoring available, calculates range using the most accurate system Jaguar has ever produced, taking into account route topography, climate conditions and driver inputs.
The I- Pace is Jaguar’s first vehicle to include the Touch Pro Duo infotainment system, capable of over-the-air software updates, and uses artificial intelligence to adapt to a driver’s personal preferences, ensuring that the driving and infotainment settings are matched to each individual using the car.
The cracking all-wheel drive performance comes from twin Jaguar-designed motors — for which there is an eight-year battery warranty.
With zero tailpipe emissions, I-Pace owners may be eligible to benefit from lower road taxes, reduced tolls and even reduced congestion charges.
Designed from the outset as an electric vehicle, the I-Pace offers interior space for five adults and luggage.
It also claims rapid public charging from nought to 80 per cent in 40 minutes, with a 15- minute charge giving 62 miles of range.
In the rear, tablet and laptop stowage is found beneath the seats, while the rear luggage compartment offers a large 656- litre capacity — 1,453 litres with seats folded flat.
Of course there is the question of price with this car. But of all the cars JLR took to that event, the one that impressed me the most was the all-electric Jaguar I-Pace SUV, which I hope to test at greater length soon.