Love or hate Range Rover, the climb-up-the-trees car can only benefit from a hybrid platform. How will a hybrid platform help it?
Range Rovers are amazing cars and probably the only real and true SUVs on the market today. Not convinced? Does anyone remember the Camel Trophy that pitted the most rugged guys and their Range Rovers against sometimes insurmountable obstacles, often time reducing them to tears? Range Rovers are all of that, but one thing they are not is environmentally friendly.
The New Green Rover? It might seem like an oxymoron but the Range Rover line of cars can only greatly benefit from a little added electron torque. After a few years of possible electric vehicle, EV Range Rover, with the Liberty E-Car, or the company’s own all-electric E-Defender prototype, Range Rover has finally delivered on the promise of the future with a hybrid.
SUVs Make Great Hybrids. SUVs are the perfect platforms to get the greening effect of an electric motor. They benefit from the electric motor’s high torque, specifically suited to propel the beasts from standstill and keeping the precious gasoline when the engine is more optimized. Just to make sure you don’t think this is yet another fluke or another over-enthusiastic marketing campaign, Range Rover is putting the rubber to the street with a 10,000-mile, 12-country “Silk Trail 2013” tour of its Range Rover Hybrids. Hybrids? Yes, three of them will cover the historical Silk Trail Road proving hybrids can handle the serious. Did you ever doubt it?
Technically Speaking. Using its own 3L turbo diesel V6 coupled to a 47 HP, 35-kW electric motor with an eight-speed ZF transmission, the system weighs in at 265 Lbs, 120 kg, which includes its lithium-ion battery pack. Performance wise the Rover won’t disappoint with 335 HP, 516 LB-ft of torque, and a 0 to 62 MPH, 100 km/h below seven seconds. Its top speed is 135 MPH, 218 km/h and 140 MPH, 225 km/h, depending on configuration, 4 wheel drive or two. The Rover also sports regenerative braking.
The hybrid Rover offers an electric vehicle, EV only mode of a mile, 1.6 km up to 30 MPH, 48 km/h. Fuel economy should increase by about 26 percent and bring down emissions considerably.
Inside and Out. Nothing much has changed inside. Another testament of smart use of space, particularly suited to SUVs, the battery pack was mounted low enough onto the platform not to disturb its interior and passenger room.
According to John Edwards, Land Rover Global Brand Director: “We are 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.”
The Rover hybrid will be available as of September 10. Is this is sign of times when one of the best SUV maker, Range Rover switches to a hybrid system?