It's a Saturday night, and my wife and I are at a Dunkin' Donuts just north of Detroit, our vehicle imbibing electrons at a furious pace from a Level 3 charger in the parking lot.
I wouldn't be here now if I could have plugged our test vehicle from Automotive News' press fleet, the new Jaguar I-Pace, into the normal 110-volt socket in my garage, the very same socket that drizzles electricity at a much slower pace into my wife's trusty Chevrolet Volt. But the I-Pace's EVSE -- Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment, the unit that interfaces between the plug and the car -- works only with a heavy-duty 220-volt socket; you know, the kind your clothes dryer uses. We don't have one of those in our garage.
I tried to use the Volt's plug with the I-Pace at home Friday night. I saw a brief flash of green on the I-Pace's charge indicator and thought everything was good to go. I went inside thinking I would have a full charge or close to it by morning. And yet when I booted up the stylish I-Pace a dozen hours later, the screen showed me the same 161 miles of range from the night before.
This is no knock on the I-Pace. I am on record as saying the I-Pace is a landmark vehicle. There's no doubt in my mind that it is the most technically advanced production vehicle -- including those from Rolls-Royce and Bentley -- ever to roll out of Great Britain. There's also no doubt that the I-Pace has the potential to be a massive hit for Jaguar. It is the most important car for Jag since the 1961 XKE.
But early adopters may have to change their routines as the EV charging infrastructure develops. Just because a plug fits in the socket of an EV, it doesn't mean it will work like your TV or toaster will when plugged into any socket in your house.
In fact, the charging situation is the likely reason the I-Pace is late arriving in showrooms. The original plan was to start U.S. I-Pace deliveries in late August. Now, they are scheduled to start in November.