Jaguar is throwing the gauntlet to Tesla and a growing cadre of manufacturers that have launched – or are planning to launch – big, powerful, electrified SUVs.

The British manufacturer just revealed the i-PACE, a futuristic all-electric SUV concept that will hit the streets by the middle of 2018. Unveiled ahead of this week’s LA Auto Show, the i-PACE looks like a technological tour de force that will position Jaguar at the vanguard of the electric revolution. The best part? The production model due in just two years will supposedly look very similar to the striking concept that launched today.

The i-PACE is Jaguar’s first electric vehicle and, according to the company’s design boss Ian Callum, is “the most important car at Jaguar since the E-Type.” Big words for sure, but at least it’s clear that the significance of going electric is not lost on the prestigious British manufacturer.

The i-PACE bears some resemblance to its ICE-powered cousin, the F-PACE, but Jag claims it was designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle. Going electric allowed designers to come up with an aerodynamic, sportscar-like design, while offering generous space for the driver and four passengers in the forward-placed cabin. Key to this construction is the flat pack of 36 Li-ion battery modules sitting between the axles, which Jaguar designed in-house.

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This skateboard design enabled a low center of gravity and gave designers room to create an airy cabin experience. The panoramic glass roof with incorporated LED lights definitely helps, though it’s likely that the production version will be less flashy in this respect. Overall, the i-PACE looks just as futuristic and luxurious as you would expect from Jaguar’s first electric car. You get the classic fine wood and aluminum insertions, and the obligatory touchscreen displays.

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Let’s talk numbers. The 90 kWh battery pack enables an operating range of over 220 miles (or 310 miles on the less stringent European standard). That’s less than the 250 miles of the Tesla Model X, but still quite respectable and definitely enough to ease any range anxiety that potential buyers may suffer from.

The Jaguar i-PACE features a pair of electric motors (one for each axle) generating 200 hp each, for a total of 400 hp (298 kW) and 516 ft-lb of torque (700 Nm) enough to propel the SUV to 60 mph in around 4 seconds. That’s sportscar-level acceleration and the i-PACE will definitely give Tesla X or Mercedes Benz Generation EQ a run for their money.

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Charging up to 80% of capacity will be possible in 90 minutes when using a 50kW DC rapid charger, and the i-PACE will also work with 120-volt chargers. The car will be able to keep up with emerging charging standards by supporting chargers of up to 150 kW.

As mentioned, the i-PACE is just a concept today, but the production version will be introduced by the end of 2017, with a target release date set for 2018. No information on the pricing just yet, so it will be interesting to see how Jag positions the i-PACE against the Tesla Model X – the electric SUV of reference right now – and luxury SUVs from other manufacturers.

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