With more and more manufacturers choosing to add Hybrid models on their fuel-guzzlers to lower emissions, big boys like Land Rover have further progressed the development of their acclaimed Range Rover with the global debut of the Range Rover Hybrid Long Wheelbase at the Beijing motor show. Together with the Range Rover Sport Hybrid, it will be the first diesel hybrid model from any manufacturer to be offered in China.
Global order books will open in May and first deliveries to customers in China are expected from the end of the year. This new derivative strengthens the status of the Range Rover as one of the world’s most successful premium vehicle ranges, witnessed in more than 100 awards amassed by the new Range Rover and Range Rover Sport in the past 18 months.
The production vehicles benefit from valuable insights Land Rover gained from its Silk Trail expedition in 2013. A fleet of Range Rover Hybrids proved their durability and all-terrain capability on a gruelling 16,000 kilometres route from the Land Rover factory in Solihull, across central Asia to the Bombay headquarters of Tata, Land Rover’s parent company. After the journey, the vehicles were stripped down and scrutinised by Land Rover engineers to improve understanding of how the designs and technologies can be fine-tuned.
The Range Rover Hybrid powertrain combines Land Rover’s 3.0-litre SDV6 diesel engine with a 47bhp electric motor, integrated with an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission. The system allows the driver to select from three different drive modes to maximise performance or efficiency, and is capable of delivering 26 per cent lower CO2 emissions (169g/km) and 16 kmpl.
Installing the hybrid diesel-electric powertrain in the Range Rover Long Wheelbase has not compromised space, or the driving experience. The long wheelbase offers the benefits of an additional 186mm of legroom for rear seat passengers and, with the option of the executive seating package, an impressive increase in the rear seat angle of recline to 17 degrees.
The hybrid system uses the same proven Terrain Response® system and all-wheel drive technology deployed in the petrol and diesel-powered models. Wading depth capability is undiminished at a class-leading 900mm.
The complete system, including a lithium ion battery pack, inverter and electric motor, weighs less than 120kg. The electric motor produces 170Nm torque and operates to boost acceleration when required, and to drive the vehicle in EV (electric vehicle) Mode. The motor also acts as a generator, harvesting kinetic energy through regenerative braking, charging the battery when the vehicle is slowing. In EV mode the Range Rover Hybrid can travel at speeds of up to 48kmph for a range of up to 1.6 kilometres before the diesel engine seamlessly restarts.
Together, output of the diesel engine and electric motor is 335bhp at 4,000rpm and a class-leading 700Nm torque between 1,500-3,000rpm, delivering performance on a par with the SDV8 engine. The version to be marketed in China is technically identical to that sold elsewhere, except for a change to the exhaust system to take into account the different local emissions standards.
The Range Rover long wheelbase is currently on offer in India, and we expect the hybrid version to come to India soon as well.