Gaydon, England – With plug-in hybrid models already well established in the upper reaches of the Range Rover line-up, Land Rover is now introducing a pair of more affordable options for those seeking an electric-only commuting range.
The new hybrid system will be fitted to the Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Discovery Sport, and in both cases it pairs a 147kW, 1.5-litre three-cylinder Ingenium turbopetrol engine with an 80kW electric motor that drives the rear axles to provide all-wheel-drive capability.
According to Land Rover, the new Evoque and Discovery Sport plug-in hybrid models can respectively travel 66km and 62km between charges.
The 1.5-litre three-cylinder plug-in hybrid seamlessly combines a conventional petrol engine, the smallest in the Ingenium range, with an electric motor to provide sustainable, efficient all-electric performance for shorter trips plus traditional power or combined petrol and electric drive for optimum efficiency on longer journeys. The new technology is being introduced in the latest generation Range Rover Evoque and comprehensively updated Land Rover Discovery Sport, making them among the most cost-efficient compact premium SUVs available.
Power is stored by a 15kWh battery that can be charged up to 80 percent in half an hour using a rapid charger, although if you’re charging at home from a conventional domestic plug then you’ll have to wait just under seven hours.
Opting for the three-cylinder Ingenium engine also brings a weight advantage, with the motor weighing 37kg less than its four-cylinder counterpart.
In addition to the EV mode for electric-only commutes, the drivetrain also has a Hybrid mode, that combines petrol and electric driving for optimum efficiency on longer journeys. In this mode the car adapts to the driving conditions and judges the remaining charge in the battery to maintain the charge or fuel economy. The battery charge can also be saved for later, if city driving is at the end of the route.
Land Rover has filed more than 40 patents for the technologies that debut in the new three-cylinder hybrid system, and many of these relate to the high voltage belt-integrated starter generator.
Jaguar Land Rover South Africa says that the new plug-in hybrid models have not yet been confirmed for the local market, but that more information will follow in due course. Which is not a no.
By Jason Woosey