Jaguar and United Airlines announced a new partnership Wednesday, launching the first gate-to-gate all-electric SUV airport transfer service in the U.S. using the 2023 Jaguar I-Pace HSE, the automaker’s first all-electric sports SUV.
Select MileagePlus Premier members will be able to take chauffeured transfers in the all-electric sport-utility vehicle beginning this month at the Chicago O’Hare International Airport.
By the end of this year, the Jaguar I-Pace will be in use at United’s remaining hubs, which include Denver, Houston, Newark/New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. It is anticipated the SUVs transport more than 1,000 United passengers daily, making an average of 60 shuttles each day.
“We are thrilled to partner with United Airlines to further ignite the passion travelers have for eco-minded exploration, as sustainability and electrifying performance are at the heart of the Jaguar brand,” said Joe Eberhardt, president & CEO, Jaguar Land Rover North America. “Both United and Jaguar have boldly pledged to advancing transportation technology that will help propel us towards a more sustainable future, and we are excited for travelers to have the opportunity to experience these innovations on the tarmac.”
Not a new idea
The new service is similar to the one offered to Delta Airlines’ best customers, who get shuttled across the tarmac in Porsche Cayennes and Panameras when connecting at Delta’s hubs in Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York-JFK, New York-LaGuardia, Salt Lake City and Seattle. Delta’s Atlanta hub is situated close to Porsche’s North American headquarters.
While Jaguar and United do not share neighboring headquarters, the automaker’s HQ in Mahwah, N.J. is close to one of United’s hubs in Newark. Like the Delta service, the United service is meant to be a surprise for select Premier MileagePlus members with tight connections.
Upon landing, the flier is greeted by a driver in the jet bridge, whereupon they show the customer to the Jaguar on the tarmac and accompanies them to their connecting flight. But United’s Jaguars do not use gasoline, while Delta’s Porsche fleet does, making United’s tarmac shuttle a more environmentally-conscious operation.
And customers who are treated to the service will make their connections quickly. The 2023 Jaguar I-Pace’s dual electric motors and 90-kWh battery generates 394 horsepower and 512 pound-feet of torque, reaching 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. That’s faster than a taxiing jet, and all-wheel drive is standard. So inclement weather is never a problem. And with a 25.3 cubic foot cargo area, neither is luggage space.
“The new United-Jaguar ground transfer program offers travelers a moment of luxury and ease, while also raising sustainability standards for the airline industry,” said Marketing & Loyalty VP and MileagePlus President Luc Bondar.
What the I-Pace offers
When the new service launches this month, it will use the newest Jaguar I-Pace, with an EPA-estimated electric range of up to 246 miles and seating for five. All-wheel drive is standard.
With its 11-kWh charger, the I-Pace can reload up to 63 miles of range in 15 minutes using a 100-kW DC charger. In addition, the 2023 I-Pace receive an updated infotainment interface with Amazon Alexa, wireless device charging, Adaptive Cruise Control, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Prices for the 2023 Jaguar I-Pace start at $71,300, and United MileagePlus members earn 50,000 miles with the purchase or lease a new Jaguar through Dec. 31.
Certainly, the new program will raise the I-Pace’s profile among those who are most likely to be able to afford one in an EV-hungry market. In 2021, 1,409 I-Pace SUVs. Through July 1, the company has sold a mere 380 units, down from 625 year-over-year. In the same period, Audi sold 1,941 E-Tron GTs, Lucid sold 1,300 Airs and Tesla sold 28,300 Model S sedans. With more and more EVs on the market, the I-Pace is losing out to newer models. The new effort with United should help raise awareness among potential EV buyers.
“Partnering with Jaguar to deploy an all-electric fleet is not only a smart business move, as we know customers consider sustainability when booking travel, it is the right thing to do,” Bondar said.