Range_e enters the 2011 RAC Future Car Challenge

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 3, 2011

Land Rover will be displaying its Range_e concept at the RAC Future Car Challenge, beside two other concept vehicles. This concept made its debut at the last Geneva Motor Show. Land Rover is the latest manufacturer to have been confirmed as an event participant.

This development model features an advanced plug-in hybrid diesel-electric powertrain that is expected to be offered in future production models in the future after the Land Rover successfully launches its diesel-electric hybrid in 2013.

The Range_e is included in the list of projects that have the support of the UK Government's Technology Strategy Board. In fact, five prototypes are included in a test program with the co-members of Land Rover at the Coventry and Birmingham Low Emissions Demonstrators (CABLE) consortium.

The Range_e, which is Land Rover's diesel hybrid plug-in prototype, will soon make its motor show debut. Powering the Range_e is a 3.0-litre TDV6 diesel that’s linked to an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission that goes with a plug-in parallel diesel hybrid system. It boasts CO2 emissions of 89g/km and it has a pure electric range of 20 miles (32km). It is capable of reaching a top speed of about 120 mph (193 km/h).

With the introduction of the Range_e at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, Land Rover opens a new chapter in its continuing dedication to manufacture fuel-efficient/low-emission vehicles. The Range_e development model is powered by an innovative plug-in hybrid diesel-electric powertrain. Land Rover aims to install these types of engines in some future production vehicles, after their planned introduction of a diesel-electric hybrid in 2013.

The Land Rover Range_e is developed from the Range Rover Sport and retains its 245PS 3.0-litre TDV6 diesel engine, in conjunction with a 69kW electric motor and an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission system. The Range_e uses a parallel hybrid system with a 14.2kW/h lithium-ion battery that is rechargeable from any 240V power outlet. It can cover over 20 miles on pure electric power, with absolutely no CO2 emissions.

It takes roughly four hours to fully recharge from any conventional power supply. Usually, a European car travels only 25 miles or less in a day. Consequently, this technology is applicable for regular city driving wherein petroleum savings and low emissions are important. Nevertheless, longer distances can be covered due to the diesel hybrid drivetrain which still optimally minimises carbon emissions.

Total CO2 emissions are merely 89g/km, despite the Land Rover Range_e’s top system output of 339PS and maximum speed of around 120mph. Thus, petrol usage computes to 85mpg. The hybrid system increases fuel efficiency such that one full tank is all it takes to travel up to 690 miles.

The Land Rover Range_e also features the same full 4WD configuration seen in the standard Range Rover Sport. It also has the high and low transmission range, front and rear differentials and a mechanical locking centre differential. The driver’s requirements determine how the vehicle’s system selects the most optimally efficient way of power delivery – electric, diesel or both. The Range_e’s braking system also features regenerative braking. This ‘recycles’ energy that would have been dissipated as heat from the brakes, improving fuel efficiency.

According to John Edwards, Land Rover Global Brand Director, the Range_e represents the first premium plug-in hybrid with the expected full four-wheel-drive capability of a Land Rover. It is the next step towards producing diesel-electric hybrids. This technology will continue to be improved for the brand’s upcoming line of SUVs which will be introduced to markets within two years’ time.

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