Land Rover has revealed more details of its diesel-electric variant at the international launch of its fourth-generation Range Rover in England, ahead of the hybrid's release in late 2013 in Australia.
The hybrid drivetrain capatilises on the new Range Rover’s dramatic weight reduction of up to 420kg to deliver fuel consumption of just 6.3 litres per 100km and emissions of just 169 grams per kilometre.
The British company says it will become the world’s first genuine all-terrain hybrid SUV, and it’s set to be followed by a plug-in version with even better environmental performance.
“The new Range Rover is a vehicle more relevant to a changing world,” said Alex Hislop, the vehicle’s chief program engineer. “Hybrid is a market segment that is growing. And this [TDV6 hybrid] is a model for those who have an even stronger environmental conscious.
“It’s important we offer a hybrid to provide a wide customer choice.
“This is the first time we’ve taken a technical leap to provide a hybrid Land Rover. But it’s a hybrid with all Land Rover capability. There is absolutely no compromise.
“It can wade 900mm of water, it can drive at extremely high altitudes. It has all the same ground clearance [as the regular Range Rover]."
Land Rover says the hybrid will deliver 40 per cent better fuel economy and 25 per cent better performance than the regular TDV6 Range Rover.
The Range Rover hybrid combines a 249kW 3.0-litre turbo diesel with a 35kW synchronous electric motor incorporated into the eight-speed ZF automatic transmission.
It’s a parallel hybrid system where the Range Rover can drive for limited range in electric-only mode and with both the engine and electric motor working in tandem.
The result is that impressive efficiency of 6.3L/100km for what is still a two-tonne-plus vehicle, while Land Rover says the Range Rover hybrid will accelerate from 0-100km/h in less than seven seconds.
The most efficient Range Rover utilising an internal combustion engine only is the new 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel TDV6 variant that uses 7.5L/100km, emits 196g/km and sprints from 0-100km/h in 7.9 seconds.
Hislop says the improved ride, handling, off-road ability and practicality of the regular Range Rover will be retained despite the typically heavy hybrid drivetrain components, particularly the battery pack.
The company says that, crucially, all the extra weight is “low down, in the right place”,
“The battery is slung beneath the vehicle. You’re not compromising usability or boot space. You can still have full size spare in boot.
"And the battery pack is clad in a boron steel cradle so can withstand all that rock testing we do so that a vehicle can be called a Land Rover.”
Land Rover displayed a plug-in hybrid Range Rover called the Range_e at the 2011 Geneva motor show, stating that it expected the rechargeable variant to emit just 89 grams of CO2 per kilometre and be made available in the future after the diesel hybrid.
Land Rover is also spruiking the improved environmental footprint of the entire Range Rover line-up.
There’s a high level of recyclable aluminium – the lighter-and-stronger-than-steel metal that has been used prodigiously in the construction of the new-generation Rangie (pictured above).
It becomes the world’s first SUV to be built with an all-aluminium monocoque body.
Other variants of the new Range Rover, which will go on sale in Australia in January, will include a 3.0-litre V6 diesel, 4.4-litre V8 diesel and a range-topping 5.0-litre supercharged V8 petrol.
Click to read Australian pricing and specifications for the 2013 Range Rover.