Jaguar Births a Super Stealthy Kitty

Jaguar C-X75“Electric car” and “appealing” are two words that you wouldn’t intentionally juxtapose in a sentence, unless you’re an eco-minded type enamoured only by the enviromentally friendliness of such a vehicle. But for apologists of petrol power, nothing beats internal combustion and the soundtrack rendered by components working together harmoniously, reverberating through the exhaust system. It’s a visceral thing, an aural reminder that the vehicle is alive – sustained by its engine, performing a job akin to that of the Human heart. A monotonous, whisper quiet electric noise doesn’t really suffice in contributing to that authentic driving experience, where one feels involved and has the control to do stuff like hit the redline or double-clutch.

Many will feel ambivalence towards the Jaguar C-X75 concept: it looks incredible, but because it’s electric it produces a sound totally incommensurate with the typical character of a Jaguar – no alluring purr here, instead, a whisper quiet whirr. But it’s extremely quick, managing a 0-100 time of 3.4 seconds and being capable of reaching 330km/h, probably well over that. These crazy figures are achieved through the use of four electric motors at each wheel – much like the Audi E-Tron, another electric supercar concept. Each motor produces 145 kilowatts and a total torque output of 1600Nm. The truck loads of torque and four-wheel drive must have made dashing through the sandy terrain seen in the pictures quite easy, albeit in a silent, eerie manner.

In addition to those powerful motors, the lightweight composition of the C-X75 also makes rocketing to high speeds easy: the chassis isJaguar C-X75 constructed with aluminium, a carbon-fibre diffuser is found at the rear and the electric powerplants have a combined weight of just 200 kilograms. Clever systems around the car automatically open ducts and direct air to where it is needed, enabling the Jaguar to slice through air, but also increases downforce and stability at speed.

I’ve noticed that refuelling – or recharging, rather, seems to be an inherent issue with many experimental electric vehicles. A limited battery range necessitates frequent plug-ins, reduces day-to-day practicality and makes long distance journeys nearly impossible. The C-X75 quells that problem with two gas-turbines which generate enough enough electricity to power the car for 900 kilometres – almost as far as Cape Town. But you’ll have to make additional arrangements for luggage and other holiday paraphernalia, as space is pretty tight. The seats in the cabin remain fixed, so rather than having to move them fore and aft to find the best driving position, one simply adjusts the steering wheel and pedals.

So the Jaguar C-X75 is a very cool car, whirring sound and all. Huge contradiction, I know – but the way it’s packaged, with scintillating speed, impressive range and drool inducing aesthtics – one can’t help but to consider embracing electric propulsion in the near future. Sadly, though, the C-X75 does portend to the demise of the internal combustion engine: if power can be produced so efficiently with the use of electric power, obviating the use of fossil fuels, then I suppose it’s the most sensible direction to progress in. Still, for petrolheads like myself, sounds like the monstrous roar of a V8 Mercedes-Benz AMG, or the husky growl of a BMW straight-six will always electrify.

Brenwin Naidu
Photo Credit: Jaguar Cars 2010

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