The Jaguar I-Pace concept previews a forthcoming electric crossover, and its designer had a few words on EVs and design.

When the I-Pace reaches production in 2018, it should offer all-wheel drive, have 394 horsepower and a range of 220 miles.

Lead designer Ian Callum talked to Forbes about the I-Pace, its design, and its importance to the brand.

“I believe if you do this kind of Jaguar you have to be bold in the design. I wanted to create a design that reflected this change in the mechanics of the car,” he said of the exterior design. “This is what led to the sporty cab-forward profile rather than a car with a bonnet and an engine.”

Translating that, it sounds like he wants to differentiate EV Jaguars from gas-powered ones based on design alone.

SEE ALSO: Jaguar Debuts Cool-Looking I-Pace Electric Crossover Concept

Of course, a long hood is not needed when there’s no gas-powered engine, and Callum even joked to Forbes that it was a reference to a former Jaguar concept, the C-X75.

The F-Pace SUV provides the basis for the I-Pace, and the main reason for that, from a design perspective, is to use its higher ride height to provide more interior space. The cab-forward design adds cargo space.

SEE ALSO: Jaguar’s First EV: The I-Pace Compact SUV

The I-Pace has a grille that fits in well with the rest of the lineup. “It has to carry on the current Jaguar look,” Callum said. “It is very important for Jaguar today to be recognizable as a brand. Our design needs to be consistent.”

The rear was trickier.

“The rear needed be very aerodynamic, which meant it would be blunt and harsh, so we worked hard to refine it and make it more Jaguar, more elegant,” Callum said.

Callum said he’s happy with the silhouette of the vehicle.

“It’s very different but not vulgar – it is a good balance of unusual and elegance,” he said. “You know I like the tail lamp graphic, too. It is an indication of our future design.”

On the inside, Callum said he could use the production I-Pace as a test bed for the use of new and different materials, like silk or cashmere.

“Yes, we will be looking at working with different types of material going forward on the production car – with wool, silk, man-made leather,” he said. “Probably not straight away though, more so down the line. Having said that we are aware that the U.K. and California will be our biggest markets and we will respond to these trends.”

The I-Pace could end up being an important vehicle for Jaguar, since it’s the brand’s first EV.

“This will be our first-ever battery-powered electric vehicle and opens a new chapter in our history,” Callum said. “I believe electric cars are here for the next 100 years and will eventually replace the combustion engine.”