The man behind the I-Pace is Ian Callum, Jaguar's chief designer, who said in Frankfurt last September that he has probably worked on his last full internal-combustion car.
"There won't be another in my life," he told me. "Everything I do now will have batteries in great abundance — mostly in the floor. And there's your first issue for a designer who wants to build low cars. They're going to get taller.
"We're going through this incredible soul-searching period," Callum said. "We try to do everything we can to protect our status quo as a sports car company, which is very hard. [But] the packaging challenges for us are enormous."
Though apparently not insurmountable. The consensus is that the I-Pace met the challenge and then some. How? Callum explained around the time of the L.A. debut.
"Cars look best when you take the weight off the back wheels," he said. "But in the 1960s, the arrival of midengined cars allowed designers to put the visual weight of the cabin even further forward. [I-Pace] is the first-ever nonengined Jaguar, so we've jumped on the chance to put the cabin between the wheels."
The production version of the I-Pace debuts in Geneva in a couple of weeks as the first credible all-electric Tesla rival from a premium automaker. That alone is kind of historic. But it may not be the reason why, a decade or so from now, car people will still be talking about this Jag. Designwise, it could be that influential.