Land Rover will launch its first hybrid models in 2013. As confirmed by the carmaker, the new Range_e will display its diesel-electric hybrid tech in a modern Range Rover Sport bodyshell. Land Rover will begin testing in late 2010 with a small fleet of five hybrids. The 2013 production date coincides with the launch of the large family of Land Rovers.
The first model to come out of the new family is the Range Rover Sport. The full-size Range Rover and Land Rover Discovery will soon follow. These models can all be powered by the new hybrid powertrain. Sources say that the RR Sport is likely to be the first to be launched. The hybrid Land Rovers will have a ZF eight-speed automatic that will be installed on all future models.
It's interesting to note that the hybridized module is the exact same size as the conventional transmission. But then, 110kg more is added to the kerbweight.
Both petrol and diesel hybrids are being developed since the brand sells well in Europe as well as in America and the Middle East states. The diesel hybrid will first arrive in Europe. Land Rover engineers say that once the diesel application is completed, the petrol hybrid will be much easier to accomplish.
Five prototypes of the Land Rover Range_e -- one of the Land Rover projects being backed up by the United Kingdom Government's Technology Strategy Board – are undergoing a test program with members of the CABLED (Coventry and Birmingham Low Emissions Demonstrators) consortium, of which Land Rover is also a member.
The carmaker expects its plug-in hybrid system to be introduced to the market, as soon as Land Rover launches its first standard diesel-electric hybrid models in 2013. According to Pete Richings, Chief Engineer Hybrids, Land Rover commenced the Range_e fleet trial in December 2010 and all five prototypes have now covered 12,000 test miles.
He said that the company seeks to get the real world info it needs to “refine the technology” before a production vehicle is presented. He also emphasized that the carmaker understands the necessity to work on all aspects of its carbon dioxide footprint, like cutting vehicle weight and trimming mechanical losses as well as raising powertrain efficiency.
Land Rover added that its hybrid technology is one part of its research and development journey. To that effect, Jaguar Land Rover is reiterating its commitment to invest £800 million on environmental technologies. The carmaker is aiming to reduce its fleet average carbon dioxide emissions by 25 percent between 2008 and 2012.