Last year, Jaguar unveiled is Tesla-fighting I-Pace concept, which served as a preview for the company’s first electric SUV. Set to arrive as a series production model in 2018, it appears the carmaker is keeping to schedule, as production of the model has already begun at Magna Steyr’s Austrian plant.

According to a report by Automotive News, the I-Pace will make its first appearance in production guise this year, likely during the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, with deliveries in Europe to follow soon after.

“We were invited very early in the product development time frame in order to provide our process and manufacturing engineering proposals,” said Karl-Friedrich Stracke, president of vehicle technology and engineering at Magna Steyr.

“We tried to include the right processes in the product early on. In other words, do the product design the right way from the start. We led from the manufacturability point of view. We did this for every function — body exterior, drivetrain, body interior, body in white, paint. We did this with all functions and optimized the design,” he added.

While the concept may appear to be based on the F-Pace, the I-Pace actually rides on a dedicated electric platform, with plenty of aluminium being utilised for the vehicle’s body. Jaguar has yet to confirm the production I-Pace’s specifications, but the concept is fitted with a 90 kWh lithium-ion battery that supplies power to electric motors on both axles.

At the time, Jaguar cited a 500+ km range on a single full charge (NEDC cycle), 400 PS and 700 Nm worth of output from the electric motors, and a 0-96 km/h time (0-60 mph) time of around four seconds. Performance aside, the I-Pace’s platform has a wheelbase of 2,989 mm (115 mm more than the F-Pace, offering loads of interior space and up to 530 litres worth of luggage space.

Unsurprisingly, the I-Pace will look to take on the Tesla Model X, with Jaguar describing its offering as a “five-seater sports car, a performance car, a family car and an SUV all in one.” However, its arrival in the United States will only occur in 2018, which is also when Tesla will unveil the new Model Y.

GALLERY: Jaguar I-Pace concept