As promised at the introduction of the all-new Range Rover late last year, new Hybrid versions would be made available, with both petrol and diesel versions to be released.
First off the blocks is the world's first SUV diesel-hybrid for both the Range Rover and new RR Sport model, that will reduce CO2 emissions by 26% and offer a combined fuel economy figure of almost 37mpg (US).
The bad news is, the diesel hybrid isn't destined for US dealerships since the take up rate on diesel engines is still relatively small compared to Europe, and the cost would be relatively high. However, we'll be missing out on V6 motor producing 340hp and 515 lb-ft that should make it fun to drive.
To demonstrate the ability of the new hybrid powertrain, Land Rover did will do what it does best - tackle the 'Silk Trail 2013'. It's a 10,000-mile expedition that visits 12 countries and some of the world's most challenging roads, passes and trails. It includes part of the ancient, 4000-mile Silk Road that originally connected Asia to the trading ports in the Mediterranean. Naturally, the Range Rovers will be the first hybrids to attempt the challenge.
The route will take the cars from the home of the Range Rover in Solihull, england to the home of the parent company Tata, in Mumbai, India. In the process it will pass through France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, China and India.
The new Range Rover Hybrid powertrain features three driver-selected modes and combines a 3-litre SDV6 diesel engine, that's been popular in Europe, with a 35kW electric motor integrated into the eight-speed ZF automatic transmission.
The hybrid system, including its lithium-ion battery pack, inverter and electric motor weighs less than 265 lb.
The electric motor produces 125 lb-ft of torque to boost acceleration. It can also drive the vehicle in EV Mode.
The motor also acts as a generator, harvesting kinetic energy through regenerative braking, which will charge the battery when the vehicle is slowing.
In EV mode, the Range Rover Hybrid can travel up to 30mph for up to one mile before the diesel seamlessly kicks in.
Combined, the output of the diesel engine and electric motor is 340hp and a class-leading 515 lb-ft torque. Both RR models can thus accelerate to 62mph in under seven seconds and a top speed of 135mph.
The latest generation Range Rover models were designed with hybrid integration in mind. Consequently, the liquid-cooled battery pack is mounted beneath the floor in a protective boron-steel cradle without impacting on the cabin or luggage space. The cradle was designed to protect the components in even the harshest off-road conditions, allowing the bottom of the vehicle to be protected and keeping it watertight.
|Range Rover||Hybrid Range Rover Sport Hybrid|
|Engine type||3.0 SDV6 HEV||3.0 SDV6 HEV|
|Top speed (mph)||135||140|
|CO2 (combined g/km)||169||169|
|Combined mpg (US)||36.7||36.7|
|Weight from... (lb)||5267||5218|