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It Feels Like Jaguar's Making a Point With Its I-Pace Ring Taxi

Bob Sorokanich
Photo credit: Jaguar

From Road & Track

Sure have been a lot of electric cars at the Nurburgring lately. Porsche EVs, Tesla EVs ... and now this: Jaguar's all-electric I-Pace. But this isn't a prototype out to test the latest track-oriented components or set an EV lap record. The I-Pace is here to work: This week, the automaker announced that the I-Pace will do duty as the newest addition to Jaguar's Race Taxi fleet, or as they're unofficially known, the 'Ring taxis.

Photo credit: Jaguar

Jaguar has been running Race Taxis at the Green Hell for a number of years, offering you the chance at a high-speed run around the famed circuit with a genuine pro at the wheel. Previous taxis have included F-Type SVRs and, more recently, the wild Jaguar Project 8, the XE-based track monster with raucous V-8 power.

The automaker added the I-Pace EV to the Race Taxi fleet this week. And with all the recent discussion around EVs and their ability (or inability) to cope with high-speed lapping at the most challenging race track in the world, we can't help but think that Jaguar's timing here is rather coincidental.

Especially when you think about the daily life of a Nurburgring Taxi. These things basically run laps whenever the track is open for a "tourist session"—the famous open-lapping times when anyone who pays the fee can drive basically anything around the Green Hell.

How does the I-Pace hold up during hours of continuous lapping? We did a little snooping around the Instagram profile of Dale Lomas, longtime Nurburgring expert and, since 2017, a regular driver of Jaguar Ring Taxis. Judging by recent posts to Dale's Instagram Stories (which, unfortunately, disappear after 24 hours), it looks like the I-Pace had around 18 percent battery left after five laps during a wet tourist session. On another day, after four laps in the dry, the I-Pace dash showed around 10 percent battery remaining.

Taxi laps definitely aren't full-speed record attempts—they take place in typical tourist traffic, which is sometimes very dense and often includes drivers and vehicles that definitely shouldn't be out lapping. But people wouldn't pay for a Taxi ride if it wasn't fast and exciting. And with experts like Lomas at the wheel, the Taxis are often seen passing and pulling away from some hardcore machinery—often with three passengers strapped in.

Photo credit: Jaguar

We reached out to Lomas to ask his opinion of the I-Pace compared to the combustion-powered Taxis he's driven in the past. "It's a ground-up EV with the weight perfectly held at axle height between the wheels," Lomas said via Facebook message. "That's so low down and so central, that it's really in a class of its own." Lomas added that the I-Pace delivers an amount of torque that's nearly equal to that of the Project 8—instantaneously. "Even the most enthusiastically driven supercars struggle to escape its clutches on a wet Nordschleife!"

Photo credit: Jaguar

Jaguar will have the I-Pace running 'Ring laps for the rest of the 2019 Nurburgring season, which closes on November 30th. And the automaker is giving away 100 free I-Pace rides to promote the newest member of the Race Taxi family. Sign up here for your chance to win a free run around the 'Ring.

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