Europeans who might like to have an SUV that’s just as comfortable on Safari as it is in fine urban shopping districts – but who want fuel and emissions savings as well – will soon be able get their wish from Land Rover.
On Sept. 10, Land Rover will show its first hybrids – centered around a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel powertrain – at the Frankfurt auto show in both the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport models.
The company will that same day also begin taking orders in anticipation of first deliveries in early 2014. To kick things off in style, the company plans to go on safari beginning tomorrow (Thursday, Aug. 22).
To demonstrate the new hybrids’ capabilities, three Range Rover Hybrids will embark on what is being described as “an epic trip from the home of the Range Rover brand in Solihull to the home of the parent company Tata, in Mumbai, India.”
These will be the first hybrids to take on this route on the “Silk Trail 2013” 16,000 km expedition. The entourage will visits 12 countries over extremely challenging roads, passes and trails, including part of the ancient, 4,000 mile Silk Road connecting Asia with the Mediterranean.
This capability should be little surprise as this was already the Range Rover’s forte, but what about the new powertrains, you ask?
The shared powertrain combines the 3.0-liter SDV6 diesel engine with a 35-kw electric motor integrated with the 8-speed ZF automatic transmission and features three driver-selectable modes.
Including lithium ion battery pack, inverter and electric motor, the hybrid system weighs less than 265 pounds (120 kg).
The electric motor produces 125 pounds-feet (170Nm) torque and can drive in EV Mode at up to 30 mph (48 kph) for up to one mile (1.6km).
As per usual hybrid practice, the motor also acts as a generator and relies on regenerative braking to recharge the battery.
“The latest generation Range Rover models have all been designed with the integration of a hybrid system in mind. Consequently, the liquid cooled,battery pack is mounted beneath the floor of the vehicle in a protective boron-steel cradle without impacting on the cabin or luggage space,” says the company in a statement. “The Range Rover Hybrid has the same five-seat capacity and luggage space as the standard vehicle and retains the full-size spare wheel. This no-compromise philosophy is echoed in the Range Rover Sport Hybrid whose interior is unchanged from the standard model, right down to the 5+2 seating.”
Both models accelerate from 0-62 mph (100 kph) in under seven seconds, and have a top speed of 135 mph (218 kph)
Emissions are reduced by 26 percent reduction in CO2 with a claimed 169g/km, equivalent to 44.1 mpg on the (generous) combined cycle.
“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 SDV8 engine,” said John Edwards, Land Rover Global Brand Director.
American adventurers won’t likely see any hybrid variants until after this first generation passes on.