Press Report : Land Rover reveals future powertrain technology

Tristan Young,, 10th May, 2010

Land Rover on Monday set out its ‘eco’ powertrain plans for the next 15-20 years including full-hybrids, plug-in hybrids and fuel cell vehicles.

Peter Richings, Land Rover’s Chief Engineer for Hybrid Technology, told just-auto the brand had a six-point plan for eco-technology – including stop-start technology extending from the current manual to automatic gearboxes – and varying levels of hybrid propulsion.

Tata Motors-owned Land Rover has already developed plug-in hybrid and range extender vehicles but is waiting for market infrastructure to be in place before it begins building such vehicles.

As part of this Land Rover is trialing a fleet of five Range-e plug-in hybrid cars based on the Range Rover Sport. The test vehicles, worth nearly GBP2m each, are part of the firm’s research into how drivers use hybrids.

Richings said the trial cars are powered by the firm’s three-litre V6 diesel as well as an electric motor.’The fleet trials are being operated by Land Rover staff at the moment, but it is a trial on the public roads and we’re in discussion with [utilty company] Eon who will test the vehicles.

‘Eon has put in two charging points here [Land Rover’s Gaydon, Warwickshire headquarters]; one fast-charge point which will give 80% charge in 20 minutes and a slow-charge point which takes about four hours,” he said.

The Range-e plug-in hybrid can cover over 20 miles (about 30km) in full electric mode and emits around 70g/km of CO2 on the European combined test cycle. Top speed is a maximum 120mph (220km/h)  and it will do ‘better than 50mph (80km/h) in electric mode”.

‘The trial vehicles use the spare wheel well and you lose some boot space as the floor is 60mm higher. However, departure angle is better,” said Richings speaking in the company’s new GBP2m virtual reality centre which allows 3D viewing of virtual prototypes.

As part of its hybrid development, Land Rover is working on stop-start technology for automatic gearboxes. ‘Our competitors are a bit clunky, particularly when it comes to change of mind moments,” said Richings. ‘Our target is 600 milliseconds to restart the engine and the technology will work with either petrol or diesel but [its first application is] for diesel.”

Land Rover’s powertrain sustainability plan

1 – Stop-start for manual gearboxes 2009
2 – Stop-start for automatic gearboxes 2012
3 – Full hybrid 2013
4 – Plug-in hybrid ready/waiting
5 – Range extension vehicle ready/waiting
6 – Fuel cell vehicle 2024


Clive Goldthorp

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