With a pair of Range Rover Hybrids to be revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Land Rover seems to achieved a remarkable combination of capability and fuel economy not to be found in anything else called ‘hybrid’ and ‘SUV’ in the same package.
Mention ‘hybrid’ and Land Rover, and it might not surprise you that it hasn’t happened until now. After all, Toyota Prius broke the hybrid ice some sixteen years ago, but some other manufacturers have waited a long time to release anything in their own lineups with the technology.
Subaru, for example, only just showed the Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid at the New York International Auto Show in April. [Why haven’t we seen the Subaru Hybrid Tourer?] The reason it took so long to get something like this to market? They just wanted to get it right and not estrange their loyal following. I can understand that, which makes a recent announcement by Land Rover that much more interesting.
Land Rover’s line of vehicles is short and specialized, capable and luxury SUVs that can just as easily take you to a fine restaurant as can take you on expedition. In electrifying a Land Rover, care has been taken not to reduce the performance that Land Rover drivers have come to expect.
Recently, testing began on an all-electric Land Rover Defender 110, which is proving to be as capable as the conventional version. Land Rover’s Range Rover Hybrids, to be fully revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show, also look to be just as refined, but with less fuel consumption. Land Rover has to make sure they do it right.
How will Land Rover get the Range Rover Hybrids right? First, the chassis and body, for both the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, have been switched over to all-aluminum construction, saving a lot of weight over previous steel versions without sacrificing stiffness. Second, the hybrid powertrain features a the familiar v6 turbodiesel mated to a 35kW motor and an eight-speed automatic transmission for a total output of 335hp and 516lb•ft of torque.
In spite of adding the lithium-ion battery pack and electric motor, the Range Rover Hybrids are just 265lb heavier than the conventional versions, and still much lighter than the previous steel conventional versions. All of this and a 44mpg fuel economy rating!
Land Rover plans to prove the capabilities of the Range Rover Hybrid vehicle on a 10,000mi expedition, the 2013 Silk Trail, following ancient trading routes through twelve countries from France to India.
Image © Land Rover