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Auto Show:  2011 Geneva Auto Show

Land Rover Range_e - Geneva Auto Show

by Autotrader March 2011
March 8, 2011

While Land Rover plans to start selling a conventional hybrid SUV in 2013, the carmaker used the glitz of the 2011 Geneva Motor Show to unveil a higher tech prototype diesel hybrid with a plug–the Range_e.

Based on the existing Range Rover Sport, the Range_e is not intended for production, but the company says it will eventually lead to a plug-in hybrid production vehicle sometime after it debuts its conventional hybrid in 2013.

Built as part of a project supported by the British government, Land Rover has produced five Range_e test vehicles that are being used in trials in and around the island nation. Since the vehicles were put into service in December 2010, they have logged about 12,000 miles altogether and are providing Land Rover with information the company is using to perfect the system.

The Range_e is loaded with a 245 horsepower turbocharged diesel engine that works in parallel with a 92 horsepower electric motor. Its on-board batteries can be charged from a 240 Volt outlet in about 2-4 hours, which will provide about 20 miles of driving range on electricity alone. After that, the Range_e will switch over to hybrid mode where both the electric and diesel drivetrains work in conjunction to increase fuel economy.

Land Rover says that when driven on a full battery in hybrid mode, the Range_e can return up to 85 mpg–actual mileage will depend entirely on how it’s driven. That number is certainly impressive, but it gets even better: because it’s based on a Range Rover Sport, the Range_e comes loaded with Land Rover’s legendary 4WD.

“This system is the first example of a premium plug-in hybrid that also provides the full four-wheel-drive capability that you would expect from a Land Rover,” said John Edwards, Land Rover Global Brand Director. “It is an evolution of the production intent diesel-electric hybrid technology which will be launched in our next generation of SUVs and will be available for customers within the next two years.”

Land Rover hasn’t said exactly when the plug-in technology will show up in their vehicles, or if they intend to market it in the U.S., but given that most other major manufacturers are moving in that direction it seems very likely that both a conventional and plug-in hybrid Land Rover SUV will eventually make their way to the States.

NICK CHAMBERS is a "next generation" car enthusiast, recognized for his green automotive coverage in Gas 2.0, The New York Times, Popular Mechanics, and In addition, he's been syndicated in Matter Network, AP and Reuters.

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Land Rover Range_e - Geneva Auto Show - Autotrader