British four-wheel drive specialist Land Rover has today confirmed recent rumours that it will have a hybrid model in showrooms by 2013.
Currently named the Range_e, the drivetrain will match the company’s diesel engines to an electric motor, essentially showcasing a diesel-electric hybrid engine.
It will still look like the current Range Rover Sport with prototype testing expected to begin before the end of this year.
Range Rover says it will build five test diesel-hybrids giving engineers only a short few years to get the car production ready. 2015 will likely see the introduction of plug-in hybrid Land Rovers as well.
Starting off, Range Rover will release its Sport model in hybrid guise followed by the Discovery. No doubt the rest of the range will also get the hybrid treatment but that may not happen till 2014.
To make use of all that power from a combination of diesel and electric engines, Land Rover has employed a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission that will be fitted to all future models (hybrid or not).
The difference between the two cars will of course be better fuel economy, more power for the hybrids but a 110kg weight disadvantage.
Despite diesel hybrids being the showcase for the brand, it will also sell petrol hybrids in markets that are yet to accept diesel cars. If it can make a diesel hybrid, a petrol one should be simple.
Reports suggest the hybrid variants will attract a $16,000 premium (£10k) in today’s money.
‘It means you can drive a Range Rover for at least 20 miles on full electric power around town, emissions of less than 100g/km and speeds of up to 70mph in EV mode.‘ Chief engineer of hybrids at Jaguar Land Rover, Peter Richings, told Car Magazine.
More on this as it comes.