Tough test for Range Rover hybrid

Diesel-electrics set out to show their stuff on 16,000km trip

The `Silk Trail 2013' expedition will feature the new Range Rover Hybrid.
The `Silk Trail 2013' expedition will feature the new Range Rover Hybrid.

The latest generation Range Rover models have all been designed with the integration of a hybrid system in mind.The Range Rover Hybrids are taking part in this year's 16,000km Silk Trail from Solihull to Mumbai.

Land Rover is launching its first hybrid models - the Range Rover Hybrid and Range Rover Sport Hybrid - which will give outstanding fuel economy and significantly lower carbon dioxide emissions but retain Land Rover's famous off-road ability.

First deliveries are expected by the middle of next year.

The two all-aluminium models are based on Land Rover's "premium lightweight architecture" and use the same powertrain.

"We are extremely excited to introduce the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport Hybrids, the world's first hybrid SUVs with legendary Land Rover capability. The addition of a smooth electric drive enhances refinement, cuts CO2 emissions and delivers staggering performance on a par with our legendary SDV8 engine," said Land Rover's global brand director, John Edwards.

To demonstrate their capabilities three Range Rover Hybrids are making an epic trip, from the home of the Range Rover brand in Solihull to the home of the parent company Tata, in Mumbai, India.

This 16,000km Silk Trail 2013 expedition visits 12 countries and takes in some of the world's most challenging roads, passes and trails, including part of the ancient, 6400km Silk Road connecting Asia with the Mediterranean. These are the first hybrids to attempt this challenging route.

The expedition will be broken into 10 legs, and the Range Rover Hybrid vehicles - driven by teams of Land Rover development engineers and invited media - will arrive in Mumbai on October 15.

The new Range Rover Hybrid powertrain has three driver-selectable modes and combines Land Rover's 3-litre SDV6 diesel engine with a 35kW electric motor integrated with the eight-speed automatic transmission.

The hybrid system, including lithium ion battery pack, inverter and electric motor weighs less than 120kg.

The electric motor produces 170Nm torque to boost acceleration and drives the vehicle in EV Mode. The motor also acts as a generator, harvesting energy through regenerative braking, charging the battery when the vehicle is slowing.

In driver-selectable EV mode, the Range Rover Hybrid can travel at up to 48km/h for up to 1.6km before the diesel engine seamlessly restarts.

Together, output of the diesel engine and electric motor is 250kW at 4000rpm and a class-leading 700Nm torque between 1500-3000rpm, resulting in SDV8-style performance.

Both models accelerate to 100km/h in less than seven seconds, with a top speed of 218km/h, combined with a 26 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions to 169g/km, equivalent to 6.4L/100km on the combined cycle.

The latest generation Range Rover models have all been designed with integration of a hybrid system in mind. The liquid-cooled battery pack is mounted under the floor of the vehicle in a protective boron-steel cradle, and does not affect cabin or luggage space.

The Range Rover Hybrid has the same five-seat capacity and luggage space as the standard vehicle and has a full-size spare wheel.

- NZ Herald

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