Jaguar Land Rover is in discussions with other car makers over a potential partnership on hybrid vehicles in a bid to reach European CO2 emissions targets.
Jaguar Land Rover director of research and technology Wolfgang Epple told industry journal Automotive News Europe that, “some discussions have taken place with other manufacturers”, though he would not name names.
Previously involved in cost-saving hybrid collaborations with General Motors and Daimler Chrysler in his former role as vice president of hybrid technology at BMW, Epple said in the past this resulted in each manufacturer building its own car and sharing components.
Driven by 2015 European Union CO2 fleet average targets of 130g/km, JLR will start selling its Range Rover Hybrid and Range Rover Sport Hybrid models in Europe from early 2014 and in Australia from the second quarter of 2014.
A report by analyst Bernstein Research concluded that hitting future fuel economy and CO2 emissions targets is “arguably the single biggest challenge for JLR” with the manufacturer needing to fit hybrid technology to a greater proportion of its vehicles than almost any other in order to reach those goals.
Despite the overall industry benchmark, JLR says it’s targeting a marker of 164g/km, reflecting the higher average vehicle weight of its fleet.
Last month, the Indian-owned British marque announced it will lead a collaborative research and development program into next-generation hybrid and electric powertrain technologies with three Range Rover Evoque-based vehicles planned – a mild hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and a full battery-powered electric variant.
Dubbed ‘Evoque_e’, the two-year £16.3 million ($27.8 million) UK government Technology Strategy Board project will see Jaguar Land Rover team with 11 industry and university partners, including Williams Advanced Engineering, Delta Motorsport, Tata Steel, and the universities of Bristol, Cranfield and Newcastle.
JLR is also investing in a new UK-based advanced research centre due to open in 2016, with hybrids a key area of focus.