Land Rover Developing Diesel Electric Hybrid SUV
I’m the first to admit that I’m a huge fan of Land Rover 4×4’s. I grew up being driven around in one and when I got my license the first thing I did was buy one of my own and set to work building it into a beast of an offroader. So you can imagine how happy I was when Land Rover recently announced that they, together with Jaguar, have decided to invest $800 million into environmentally friendly vehicles and the first fruits of that investment will be the concept SUV codenamed land_e due to hit the streets in 2013. The land_e will be a diesel electric hybrid capable of far lower CO2 emissions than any of the company’s other 4×4’s currently on offer. Jaguar Land Rover is currently owned by Tata Motors (NYSE: TTM) who have expressed a serious interest in developing alternative fuel vehicles in their own, Indian based vehicle line up although it is not yet clear if there will be any collaboration between the car makers on this project.
The first hybrid will offer an electric only range of 20 miles (38 km) and a top speed of 75 mph (120 kph) using a lithium-ion battery system, although these numbers are not earth shattering in and of themselves it’s worth remembering that this is a first generation hybrid vehicle and, as with other examples, we’ll see much better equipped hybrids in the coming years and automakers become more familiar and confident in the electric half of the hybrid drivetrain.
The first prototype of the land_e (it is worth mentioning that “landie” is a common affectionate name given to Land Rovers by their owners) will be based on the current Range Rover Sport SUV and will use a variation on the current 3.0L v6 diesel running through an 8 speed transmission.
No word yet as to whether the SUV will be a plug-in hybrid, although this is doubtful for a first generation hybrid it would be a big selling point as many fossil fuel industry analysts expect to see oil up at well over $160 USD a barrel by 2013, this would make the option to plug in a huge selling point in its own right.