Jaguar Land Rover will be leading an advanced powertrain research and development program with the end goal of developing next-generation hybrid and battery-electric powertrain technologies to be used on the Range Rover Evoque platform.

To be known as ‘Evoque_e,’ the program is a two-year £16.3 million ($25.5 million) UK government Technology Strategy Board project.

Jaguar Land Rover will contribute £4 million ($6.25 million) to the project and will lead a consortium of 12 selected partners – eight from industry and three universities.

The partners include Zytek Automotive, GKN Driveline, Motor Design Limited, AVL, Drive System Design, Williams Advanced Engineering, Delta Motorsport, Tata Steel, Bristol University, Cranfield University and Newcastle University.

Starting in October 2013, the group of companies will design, develop and build three research vehicles showcasing, as Land Rover states, “state-of-the-art, next-generation powertrain concepts for a mild hybrid electric vehicle (MHEV); a Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) and a full Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV).”

“The aim of the project is to develop technology platforms which are configurable and compatible within the architecture of an existing production vehicle,” said Peter Richings, Jaguar Land Rover Director Hybrids and Electrification. “The modular technologies include single and multi-speed axle drives; modular battery packs and integrated power electronics, multi-machine, advanced control development and torque vectoring. The research teams will look at how the speed of the electric motor can be increased, to reduce its size, weight and cost while enhancing performance and durability. We will also look at the use of alternative materials to both reduce the use of rare earth materials and for systems optimization. The outcome of the Evoque_e project will be new technologies with the potential for high volume production that are capable of delivering benchmark performance in terms of cost, weight and sustainable use of materials.”

Jaguar Land Rover said it already collaborates with a number of leading universities in the UK on a range of technology and skills projects.  More than half of Jaguar Land Rover’s research and advanced engineering team are based at Warwick University’s Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), to work collaboratively on key new technologies including energy storage, weight reduction and digital verification.

Antony Harper, Jaguar Land Rover Head of Research, illustrated the importance of this work and its benefits to the company and the UK economy, by stating that “we are keenly aware that not all the clever people work for us and our collaborative research programs harness the best of UK engineering innovation, to develop new and exciting technologies. The development of our business and our continuing investment in R&D has also encouraged inward investment into the UK, with our suppliers creating and funding their own research projects in UK universities. Technology Strategy Board funding allows us to multiply the effect of our investment and nurture UK-based technology investment, in supporting our work to address future needs, wants and legislation around the world.”