Ian Callum talks Jaguar I-Pace electric car design

Meet Jaguar‘s first all-electric proposition. The I-Pace, revealed in November as a conceptual study at the LA Auto Show, is one of the most important Jaguar cars to be released since the E-Type. It represents a big step for the marque too, for it is the company’s first pure battery-powered electric product. This isn’t just a design study either – Jaguar is promising a production electric I-Pace based closely on this car with all-wheel drive, 394bhp, four seconds to 62mph, a range of 220 miles and on our roads in 2018. I caught up with Jaguar’s director of design Ian Callum post show to find out more.

Jaguar I-Pace electric car concept unveiled at the LA Show It’s very exciting to see your vision for an all-electric Jaguar. Why the decision to kick start the Jaguar e-mobility family with a car based on the F-Pace SUV?

The F-Pace is our most successful car by a long way. Electric cars are still a relatively niche market therefore to capitalise on its success made sense. The SUV also offers less constraint, make-up wise, as we were able to use our ‘skateboard’ platform (the flat battery that sits between the axles with an electric motor at either end) allowing for a lot of design freedom.

The bespoke architecture and electric drive system really have allowed you to exploit every millimetre of this car for a cabin that can comfortably carry five people…

The concept is developed on a new architecture designed to optimise electric vehicle performance, aerodynamics and interior space. With an SUV you also have the natural height. So with the batteries sitting beneath and with no engine we could really maximise cabin space.

Jaguar I-Pace electric car conceptI suppose with the absence of a conventional engine, it didn’t make sense to design a long bonnet, as is the case with the more classic performance Jaguars.

I wanted to create a design which reflected this change in the mechanics of the car. This is what led to the sporty cab-forward profile rather than a car with a bonnet and an engine. The layout positions the driver further forward, increasing the space for second row occupants. This also allows the 530-litre luggage compartment volume without compromising the dramatic silhouette.

Is it also a nod to the futuristic 2010 C-X75 concept?

Yes. When we went for a cab-forward look, an exotic design I think, it immediately reminded us of the C-X75. So you could say the reference evolved in an organic way. I also believe that if you do this kind of Jaguar you have to be bold in the design. So here we also exaggerated the front wheel arch for a strong handsome front of car.

Jaguar I-Pace electric car conceptYou have kept the Jaguar grille design. Would you have considered a more distinctive, perhaps radical face to differentiate this as an electric car?

On the one hand my view was that the car is so different that you almost shouldn’t have to define it, yet at the same time it has to carry on the current Jaguar look. So yes we included the radiator grille. It is very important for Jaguar today to be recognisable as a brand and this can be done through the face. Our design needs to be consistent. That fact may change but at this stage it is very important to us.

Also a lot of people think electric cars don’t need cooling so they don’t need a front radiator whereas the battery does need cooling.

This being an eco-car, you must have had to work hard with the sculpture’s aerodynamics to reduce the drag coefficient figures to a remarkably low 0.29 from the F-Pace 0.34.

The biggest problem for us was at the rear where it needed to be very aerodynamic but this then meant it would look blunt and harsh. So we worked hard to refine it and make it more Jaguar, more elegant.

Jaguar I-Pace electric car conceptYou have used some novel sustainable material here such as carbon leather. We’ve spoken a great deal in the past about your enthusiasm for exploring new materials that can define luxury going forward. Do you see the I-Pace production car as an opportunity to explore further these ideas?

Yes absolutely. We will be looking at working with different types of material, with wool, silk, man-made leather, going forward on the production car. Probably not straight away, more so down the line. Saying that, we are aware that the UK and California will be our biggest markets and we will respond to these trends.

What are you most proud of with the design?

The silhouette is very different but not vulgar – it is a good balance of the unusual and elegance. Also I like the tail lamp graphic. It is an indication of our future design.

I saw that Jaguar has compared the importance of the I-Pace to the E-Type, a groundbreaking car for the marque. Do you see this car starting a family of unique Jaguar e-cars?

This will be our first-ever battery-powered electric vehicle and it opens a new chapter in our history. I believe electric cars are here for the next 100 years and will eventually replace the combustion engine. So yes.

Nargess Banks

Read my road trip in the latest Jaguar F-Pace in Forbes.

Design Talks | The Textile Building | 29a Chatham Place | London | E9 6FJ | UK
Design Talks is published by Spinach Design
All rights and labelled images are covered by ©

What is luxury? Jaguar design director discusses

The idea of luxury has evolved to include a much more complex set of values. Time, authenticity, legacy, access, resource, journey, skills and memory – these are just some of the concepts joining the more classic terms associated with luxury. And going forward, when the car becomes essentially a high-tech gadget in the age of autonomous driving, what will define true luxury? In the second of our interviews with some of the leading creatives, Ian Callum, Jaguar Cars design director, offers his thoughts on the subject.

Design Talks. How would you define modern luxury?

Ian Callum: One aspect of modern luxury is appreciating old world luxury, to understand the essence of authentic materials, noticing and understanding the value of these, understanding the pleasures it gives rather than the ostentatiousness of it.

As car designers our job is to understand our occupants’ emotional and physical needs, and to respond to this. We therefore use this word wellbeing a lot in our design process. To create a sense of real luxury is to essentially give a sense of wellbeing, to create an environment where our customers enjoy the experience, much like you would in a great restaurant or a modern hotel. It means forming a sanctuary. It certainly isn’t about showing off their wealth.

DT. How does this apply to Jaguar design?

IC. What this means in terms of Jaguar cars is a more exciting and involved environment in our sports cars like the F-Type, and a more comfortable and luxurious one in cars like the XJ. It means experimenting and investing in perfumes, smells, ambience lighting. It means looking into new luxury materials.

DT. How do you see this being unique to the marque?

IC. Jaguars are exotic cars, and people buy our cars because they are exciting. But part of this means taking up space so for us it is a case of balancing the exciting with the comfort. So our first priority is the packaging of the vehicle, the physical side of it – the very makeup of comfort, seat value, versatile occupant sitting space…

We then look at ambiance by simplifying the visual architecture. Forms and shapes need to be easily understood, but not be cold. And we offer choice – for a modern twist carbon, and warmer textures such as wood, leather and even cashmere, which we’re working on, to create a sense of softness in the future. We need to see beyond the immediate needs of our customer.

DT. How does technology fit into this?

IC. Beyond this are technology and connectivity, and the visual and verbal connections. The infotainment system has to be as sophisticated as any modern luxury living space. Sound is very important to a British brand, a great quality sound system, and for us it means working with technology companies like Meridian who share our values.

DT. There is usually an element of surprise in your cars, such as the gear leaver in the XJ that pops up when the engine turns on for a sense of theatre…

IC. Yes, Jaguar cars need to offer a little sense of fun, tongue-in-cheek humour and a bit of theatre – if the customer gets it, then brilliant and if not, it doesn’t really matter! We’re doing different surfaces and patterns, which you’ll discover, perhaps hidden in the glove box. The idea is to make people smile.

DT. How do you see the future of luxury car design in the context of driverless cars?

IC. Honestly I don’t know yet! But the first stage will be semi-driverless cars where the driver has the option to let the car be piloted autonomously. All this would mean at this stage is that the infotainment system used by other occupants can extend to the driver. But for safety reasons occupants will still need to be seated [traditionally] and strapped in.

However, for the time being electric cars offer huge possibilities in terms of the architecture of the car for more interior space. Space is increasingly luxury and this is something that we’re working on at the moment.

Nargess Banks

Read our interview on the subject of modern luxury and car design here.

Read more about Jaguar design here.

Design Talks | 5 – 25 Scrutton Street | Old Street | Shoreditch | London | EC2A 4HJW | UK
Design Talks is published by Spinach Design
All rights and labelled images are covered by ©

Jaguar explores new territories with F-Pace

The F-Pace is Jaguar‘s first sports utility in its 70-year history. Designing an SUV was not an easy task for a marque associated with a low, long and sleek vernacular, and with such a rich sports car heritage. ‘The customer wanted one,’ admits Ian Callum, ‘It is a practical car but with the spirit of Jaguar,’ adds the design director.

We’re in Frankfurt at the biannual international motor show. The previous evening the F-Pace proved its claim as the ‘sportiest SUV’ by breaking the Guinness world record, and defining gravity, on the largest ever loop the loop completed by a road car. Witnessing stunt driver Terry Grant race inside the 19.08m tall, 360-degree circle was pretty spectacular.

The F-Pace unveiled at Frankfurt is a production car closely based on the 2013 C-X17 concept study. It’s underpinnings are the marque’s lightweight aluminium architecture which has allowed the design team the freedom to create a car with ‘latent poise, a svelte car with attitude,’ smiles Callum.

‘Of course a crossover is vertically more challenging,’ admits Al Whelan as we caught up with him on the Jaguar Land Rover show stand, ‘but in many ways the intensive aluminium architecture helped us set up the building blocks,’ says the chief designer, adding, ‘You get this right, and the Jaguar traits follow from that.’

It also allowed for a roomier cabin. The F-Pace can accommodate five adults and there is a versatile 650/1740-litre cargo space. The doors come alive with Jaguar’s signature blue ambiance lighting, and the optional panoramic roof expands almost the entire length of the car suggesting a more spacious cabin.

This is a highly intelligent car too, featuring the marque’s latest 8-inch touchscreen and infotainment system, with an optional 10.2-inch InControl Pro system, which can connect up to eight devices to a wi-fi hotspot in the car.

Whelan sees most of the competitors in the small crossover category producing quite similar proportions, ‘long overhangs and short rear overhangs, and balanced looking side views,’ he says.

So, when two years ago the team came to envisage a Jaguar crossover with the C-X17 concept, Callum insisted on taking the marque’s most recent designs, in particular the DNA of the F-Type coupé, as inspiration.

Whelan explains they set out to create a unique typography with the F-Pace ‘with a long bonnet, lots of tension on the side view, and of course big wheels,’ he smiles. ‘The key was to keep it sleek and exciting and I think we have achieved this.’

The F-Pace is handsome in the metal – subtly translating the Jaguar form language to a car that by nature should defy this. Callum had asked his design team to embrace Jaguar’s sporting heritage, extract some of the theories from the evocative cars in the company’s rich back catalogue, and apply it to the F-Pace.

The overall vision was ‘for it to be softer, more refined, and more muscular interpretation,’ notes Whelan. ‘We introduced the two strong character lines from the F-Type coupé, the long front fender and the rear haunch… and it all started to work.’

Nargess Banks

A full report from the Frankfurt Motor Show was published in Wallpaper*.

Read more about Jaguar design here.

Design Talks | 5 – 25 Scrutton Street | Old Street | Shoreditch | London | EC2A 4HJ | UK
Design Talks is published by Spinach Design

All rights and labelled images are covered by ©

Jaguar Project 7 at Goodwood

‘We declare that the splendour of the world has been enriched by a new beauty: the beauty of speed,’ F. T. Marinetti wrote in the 1909 Futurist manifesto. ‘A racing automobile with its bonnet adorned with great tubes like serpents with explosive breath … a roaring motor car which seems to run on machine-gun fire…’

Speed. There is something at once modern, advanced, sexy, almost superhuman about it – notwithstanding its usurping by Mussolini’s fascist movement having taken the manifesto as theirs. Speed symbolises progress, and in the epoch of sustainability, it is perhaps not getting quite the glory it deserves. I can never forget the sheer thrill of taking the Shanghai Transrapid, the magnetic levitation train and the word’s fastest at 268 mph. Your heart almost stops a beat or two.

The Goodwood Festival of Speed (26-29 June) celebrates speed in its rawest form. The annual hill climb sees drivers race to complete an uphill course – and it is quite spectacular watching the parade of exotic metal, as RAF Red Arrows perform some stunning air acrobatics over the picturesque Goodwood House in West Sussex, UK.

This was the ideal setting for Jaguar to reveal its latest production car, the F-type Project 7, a high-performance model and the production version of Project 7, a concept shown at Goodwood last year. Project 7 is a tribute to the Jaguar D-Type, which turns 60 this year. The racing car was produced between 1954 and 1957, featured an innovative highly aerodynamic monocoque construction and won the Le Mans 24-jour race on three occasions.

Project 7 will be made in limited numbers – only 250 have been promised so far. It has two seats, a simple removable fabric roof, and a distinctive asymmetrical hump at the rear. It has a lower windscreen than the F-Type on which it’s based and a carbon-fibre bodykit, which together with other innovative features, helps shed 80kg of weight. With 567bhp from a 5.0-litre supercharged V8 engine, Project 7 is the most powerful Jaguar road car.

It is the offspring of a newly created Special Vehicle Operations team. If it all sounds a little 007, then I suspect this was intentional. Half the charm of the brand is its association with all things British, the charming old school kind. The SVO team will be developing not only tuned versions of production models but also classic cars like the upcoming lightweight and super powerful special-edition E-type. And we cannot wait to put some of these to the test.

Nargess Shahmanesh Banks

Read our Jaguar reviews here, and about Jaguar’s installation at Clerkenwell Design Week 2014.

Design Talks | 5 – 25 Scrutton Street | Old Street | Shoreditch | London | EC2A 4HJ?W | UK 
Design Talks is published by Spinach Design

All rights and labelled images are covered by ©


Review: Jaguar F-Type Coupé

The F-Type Coupé is a sports car for the non-conformist. Jaguar says its latest product is the ‘progressive alternative’ – an alternative to the likes of the Porsche 911, a car that tends to dominate this market. ‘It represents Jaguar’s return to proper sports cars,’ notes Wayne Darley, global brand manager. It is the marque’s contemporary interpretation of the E-Type, a car that came to define Jaguar half a century ago.

We get our first glimpse of the new car as our tiny aircraft lands at Lleida airport in north eastern Spain. Parked side-by-side along the runway, the fleet in silver, white, red and orange make for quite a picture. They’re almost like toy cars, conceptual designs that look ridiculously cool – there really is no other word for it. The design and engineering teams worked hard to stay as close as possible to the C-X16 concept car that foreshowed the F-Type three years ago, translating the unusual one-piece rear graphic, and undisturbed swooping roofline into the production model we’re about to drive.

From Lleida we head to Motorland, a racetrack in the heart of Aragon and onto miles and miles of snaky mountain roads. With virtually no traffic, this region is ideal for putting the F-Type to the test. Almond trees, delicate pink from the spring blossoms, interrupt this otherwise rough and rugged landscape as sleepy villages awake with the sweet sound of our crackling, roaring engine.

This all-aluminium car is light in structure, yet boasts a strong bodyshell and is certainly powerful. There are three models on offer, the Coupé, S Coupé and top-of-the-range R Coupé – its 550PS/680Nm 5-litre V8 supercharged engine enabling the car to accelerate from 0-60mph in just four seconds, and reach a limited top speed of 186mph. This is a powerful beast that demands your attention.

The design is viscerally exhilarating – elegantly proportioned, lovingly detailed. It is also playful but with just the right dose of playfulness – after all this is a serious sports car. There is purity in its execution, too. The body side is made from a single-piece aluminium pressing, which means there are no multiple panels and cosmetic joints. The dramatic one-piece roof panel comes in either aluminium or panoramic glass – the latter adding extra theatre. It has these voluptuous wheel arches and a deployable rear spoiler that sits within the tapered shut-line, while slim, very distinctive, wrap-around LED lamps flank the tailgate.

Inside the mood changes. The cabin is a quieter space, the cockpit wraps around the driver creating a focused and cosy environment. ‘You want to feel you’re in control,’ says Julian Thomson, head of advanced design. It is full of tactility, lots of old school metal parts, so the driver can feel the mechanics on the gears and pedals. I recall discussing this in great detail with Jaguar designer Alister Whelan when the C-X16 concept car was first shown in 2011. There was much talk on how to marry digital and analogue components in a modern Jaguar, and here the balance seems almost right.

The F-Type in coupé and convertible is the pinnacle product in a family of cars that have been completely refreshed since Tata took on ownership of the company six years ago. In automotive terms this is a relatively short time but with 10 new models, the transformation is impressive. Last year, Jaguar Land Rover was reportedly the fastest growing premium carmaker in the world.

‘Jaguar’, Thomson told me a little while ago, ‘is about purity and beauty in design and a sports car is the best way to demonstrate it. Sports cars should have a greater sense of poise, so this is the pinnacle of our design philosophy.’ One of the main criteria for the Coupé, I’m told, was for it to be a focused performance car that is deliberately distinctively unique, and it delivers on both fronts.

Nargess Shahmanesh Banks

Read about the Jaguar F-Type Convertible here. Also read about Jaguar’s installation at Clerkenwell Design Week 2014.

Design Talks | 5 – 25 Scrutton Street | Old Street | Shoreditch | London | EC2A 4HJ?W | UK 
Design Talks is published by Spinach Design

All rights and labelled images are covered by ©