23/5/11

Overview: Land Rover Range_e

Land Rover’s Range_e is a diesel-electric plug-in series-parallel hybrid prototype and evaluation vehicle, based on the Range Rover Sport. It uses the Company’s familiar 245PS V6 turbodiesel as part of a hybrid drivetrain, and delivers NEDC fuel and emissions returns of 89g/km CO2 and 85mpg.

Don’t get too excited, though: the Range_e is not for sale, nor will it be, though a number of such vehicles have been running for some time. The Range_e is a statement and demonstration of intent, as well as a rolling research vehicle. The technology it uses, and the lessons learned from running it, will feed into Land Rover’s first real-life diesel-electric hybrid, which will go on sale some time in 2013.

Land Rover Range_e.

The Range_e’s hybrid system is designed and supplied by ZF, which implies a certain way of doing things. The 94PS electric motor, which shares duties with the Land Rover V6, is built into ZF’s eight-speed 8P70H transmission, along with a separating clutch, torsional damper and hydraulics; a starting clutch is used in place of a torque-converter. The two power-sources — the V6 and the electric motor — can operate together or independently; the decoupling clutch allows the combustion engine to be decoupled from the driveline for electric running and brake energy recuperation.

The 8P70H transmission, which is designed specifically for hybrids, is a close relative of the familiar 8HP and will fit into the same installation space.

As we have come to expect, all decisions about the mixing and matching of power-sources are made transparently (if not necessarily seamlessly) by the electronic control system, referred to by ZF as the Hybrid Master. In the case of the Range_e, the Hybrid Master takes into account the state of the road surface as well as more straightforward power demand and speed data.

Using a 14.2kWh lithium-ion battery-pack, Land Rover estimates that the Range_e should cover 20 miles under electric power. The peak system output — albeit briefly — is 339PS, and the car’s maximum speed is around 120mph.

The Range_e has been engineered with the same full four-wheel drive as the standard Range Rover Sport, with high and low range in the transmission, front and rear differentials and a mechanical locking centre differential.

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