Land Rover is taking fuel economy concerns with a stiff upper lip and a cup of tea, relaxed as it starts taking UK orders for its 45 mpg 2015 Range Rover SDV6 Hybrid flagship starting in September 2013. The first customer deliveries are expected in early 2014, wearing far fewer off-road accessories and prepared for a life of luxury.
This pair of test prototypes is enduring the opposite of luxury: a 10,000-mile durability journey from Land Rover headquarters in England to Tata Group ’s home base in Mumbai. Called the Silk Trail 2013 experience, the plucky Brits seem to have forgotten their own maritime excellence, and the blue part of the map that has long been the best passage to India.
Calling it the Silk Trail is more accurate than its other description, the Silk Road. Mud up to the door mirrors cannot stop the Range Rover Hybrid’s mission.
Going over land is a bold undertaking, and also highlights the production 2015 Range Rover Hybrid’s fuel economy and off-road credentials along the way. Arriving in Mumbai around 55 days later, taking a brand new Range Rover into dozens of foreign countries along the way is certainly a vote of confidence in its reliability - long a sore spot for this advanced machine.
A 3.0-liter diesel engine is paired with a jumbo 35kWh Li-ion battery pack, which is fully production-ready and will also be rolled out on the seven-seat 2015 Range Rover Sport SDV6 Hybrid as well.
Updated 09/13/2013: When Land Rover launched the first details on the Range Rover Hybrid everyone believed it will be an European-only model. However, in a recent interview Andy Goss, the current CEO of Jaguar Land Rover USA confirmed that a North American version of the Range Rover hybrid "It’s not a matter of ‘if,’ but ‘when.’" (LeftLaneNews)
Click past the jump for all the high-res images of this jungle-prepped ’Silk Road 2013’ test of the forthcoming 2015 Range Rover SDV6 Hybrid.
This is no light road trip, or 3-hour trip up to the summer cottage. At almost 10,000 miles, this epic Silk Road journey is scheduled to cross France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, China and India by October 15th.
The exterior styling matches the hardcore nature of this mission, with a light styling wrap over the handsome lines of the new Range Rover.
Only a special grille and lower fender Hybrid badges set this model apart from a showroom car - indicating the actual UK’s RR SDV6 Hybrid will be match the looks and exterior style of the V-8 and V-6 models.
The off-road kit does include some chunky tires to deal with unpredictable weather and terrain along the way. A handsome roof rack brings along yet another spare wheel/tire, plenty of extra room for souvenirs and twin spotlights at its aero-optimized leading edge.
The Range Rover has room to (perhaps) pick up some priceless antiquities for the British Museum along the way, or space for a climate-controlled and bug-free nap in back.
A few other nice Land Rover accessories also make an appearance for this first time on this generation of Range Rover, including a bumper-mounted winch that looks much nicer than mounting it on an aftermarket rhino bar.
No revisions inside, except for additional eco information in the Range Rover ’s TFT display panels. The Range Rover SDV6 Hybrid will have an EV mode to allow electric cruising up to 30 mph for up to a mile.
It looks like the 35kWh battery pack that will be shared with the Range Rover Sport SDV6 Hybrid is quite compact: the RRS Hybrid will still seat seven people in a 5+2 layout.
Drivetrain, Engine and Brakes
Fuel economy of at least 44 mpg is a big improvement for this large machine, which otherwise typically gets thirsty in any traffic. The system consists of an electric motor unit ahead of the XF eight-speed box, which is important for an off-roader because it maintains the system’s ability to shuffle torque as needed to all four wheels.
The combined power outputs looks great, no doubt enhanced by the electric motor’s contribution of 228 pound-feet of torque. Diesel plus electric results in horsepower of 335 and 516 pound-feet of torque in total. Top speed is 135 mph, which should at least let the boys make up some time when, literally, crossing the face of the Earth.
2015 Range Rover SDV6 Hybrid - Mechanical Details:
|Engine||3.0-liter Turbo Diesel V-6 with Direct Injection and Chain-driven DOHC Plus 35kWh Hybrid Power Unit|
|Powertrain Layout||Front-engine, Four-wheel-drive|
|Power (Hybrid and Diesel Combined Output)||335|
|Torque (Hybrid and Diesel Combined Output)||516|
|0-60 mph||7.5, est|
|Top Speed||135 mph|
|EPA Fuel Economy (City/Highway/Combined)||39/45/43, est|
Pricing is not yet available, but the Range Rover SDV6 and RRS SDV6 are both available for U.K. orders from September 10th, with delivery in early 2014.
The Cayenne S Diesel is a real foe for the Range Rover . Despite being a bit mature, the Cayenne shows no sign of slowing sales momentum. A huge variety of model lines and trims makes owning one feel special, and it is also quite nimble in the corners for a big truck.
Not quite big enough for some buyers, however. The Cayenne’s tight cargo hold and back seat is nowhere near as posh and roomy as the new Range Rover.
It looks like Land Rover ’s off-road-ready Hybrid solution will be a critical part of the large SUV lineup in the very near future — even across the American-preferred gasoline engine choices.
Much as we understand that locomotives and heavy machinery decided diesel-electric was best almost 75 years ago, filling up a diesel car in the U.S. is irritating. Land Rover will be making a mistake if it tries to launch the SDV6 Hybrid diesel here alone, instead of adapting the Li-ion hybrid system to gasoline as well.
The beauty of batteries and EV energy advancements like regenerative braking is that the benefits can be applied to any type of internal combustion engine. The American Range Rover also shares this hybrid model’s excellent ZF autobox, so switching to gasoline power up front should pose no problem.
No news yet on the 2015 Range Rover SDV6 Hybrid’s availability in the U.S. or outside the UK, but this globe-trotting adventure certainly indicates the Hybrid will be part of the full global model line for both the new RR and RRS.
For its ability to increase max distance per tank of fuel, the Land Rover team will certainly be grateful while they undertake this epic adventure.
- Promising economy and maintained off-road prowess
- Big power stats from 35 kWh battery, also available in U.K. Range Rover Sport
- The next Discovery LR4 is waiting in the wings with this eco solution as well - as U.S. sales of the midsize model have virtually ground to a halt
- Unknown price premium, but worth it for most buyers regardless
- Excited to see possible performance and mileage boost with 3.0-liter Supercharged engine for U.S. RR Hybrid
LAND ROVER LAUNCHES ITS FIRST HYBRID RANGE ROVER MODELS
Land Rover is launching its first-ever hybrid models – the Range Rover Hybrid and Range Rover Sport Hybrid – which will deliver outstanding fuel economy, significantly lower CO2 emissions and retain Land Rover’s renowned capability and performance.
Available to order in Europe from September 10 with first deliveries in early 2014, the two all-aluminium models are based on Land Rover’s Premium Lightweight Architecture and share an identical powertrain. They are the world’s first premium diesel SUV hybrids.
“We are extremely excited to introduce the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport Hybrids, the world’s first hybrid SUVs with legendary Land Rover capability. The addition of a smooth electric drive enhances refinement, cuts CO2 emissions and delivers staggering performance on a par with our SDV8 engine,” said John Edwards, Land Rover Global Brand Director.
To demonstrate the capabilities of the new hybrids, three Range Rover Hybrids will embark tomorrow (Thursday, August 22) on an epic trip, from the home of the Range Rover brand in Solihull to the home of the parent company Tata, in Mumbai, India.
This ‘Silk Trail 2013’ 16,000km expedition visits 12 countries and takes in some of the world’s most challenging roads, passes and trails, including part of the ancient, 4,000 mile Silk Road connecting Asia with the Mediterranean. These are the first hybrids to ever attempt this challenging route.
The new Range Rover Hybrid powertrain features three driver-selectable modes and combines Land Rover’s popular 3-litre SDV6 diesel engine with a 35kW electric motor integrated with the 8-speed ZF automatic transmission. The hybrid system, including lithium ion battery pack, inverter and electric motor weighs less than 120kg.
The electric motor produces 170Nm torque to boost acceleration and drives the vehicle in EV Mode. The motor also acts as a generator, harvesting kinetic energy through regenerative braking, charging the battery when the vehicle is slowing. In driver-selectable EV mode the Range Rover Hybrid can travel at speeds of up to 30mph (48km/h) for a range of up to one mile (1.6km) before the diesel engine seamlessly restarts.
Together, output of the diesel engine and electric motor is 340PS at 4,000rpm and a class-leading 700Nm torque between 1,500-3,000rpm, resulting in stunning SDV8-style performance. Both models accelerate to 62mph (100km/h) in under seven seconds, deliver strong transient and mid-range performance with a top speed of 135mph (218km/h), combined with a 26 percent reduction in CO2 emissions to 169g/km, equivalent to 44.1mpg on the combined cycle.
The latest generation Range Rover models have all been designed with the integration of a hybrid system in mind. Consequently, the liquid cooled battery pack is mounted beneath the floor of the vehicle in a protective boron-steel cradle without impacting on the cabin or luggage space. The Range Rover Hybrid has the same five-seat capacity and luggage space as the standard vehicle and retains the full-size spare wheel. This no-compromise philosophy is echoed in the Range Rover Sport Hybrid whose interior is unchanged from the standard model, right down to the 5+2 seating.
Both hybrid Range Rover models continue to deliver a class-leading breadth of capability and versatility, enhanced by the exceptionally linear torque delivery from the powertrain and retaining Land Rover’s peerless four-wheel drive system including Terrain Response® 2, with uncompromised wading and ground clearance.
The ‘Silk Trail 2013’ expedition featuring the new Range Rover Hybrids is scheduled to visit France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, China and India. The expedition will be broken into 10 separate legs, with the Range Rover Hybrid vehicles driven by teams of Land Rover development engineers and invited media – arriving in Mumbai on October 15.