Jaguar Land Rover Reveals Its Electric Drive Module Technology
Now that Tesla has proven there’s a market for premium electric vehicles, more established manufacturers are scrambling to develop new platforms and drivetrains for electric cars. Mercedes-Benz recently confirmed it has a full-electric luxury car in the works, and Audi’s electric 2017 Audi Q6 E-Tron SUV is imminent. Now Jaguar Land Rover is getting in on the action with three new Concept_e research demonstrators that incorporate electric power.
The first of these is the Concept_e MHEV, a “Mild Hybrid” built on a 2016 Range Rover Evoque. It uses a 90-horsepower prototype diesel engine that works with a 15-kW (about 20 horsepower) electric motor integrated into the crank between the engine and a nine-speed transmission. A 48-volt electrical system and 48-volt lithium-ion battery pack supply power to the electric motor.
Next is the 2014 Range Rover Sport-based Concept_e PHEV, which uses a plug-in hybrid system that incorporates a 300-horsepower gasoline engine and an eight-speed transmission. The electric motor delivers an additional 150 kW (roughly 200 horsepower) and also functions as the starter motor. A 320-volt battery pack supplies power to the electric motor. Both the ICE and the electric motor send power through the gearbox to a full-time four-wheel-drive system.
Lastly, the Concept _e BEV is what JLR calls a “bespoke research demonstrator.” It’s built using JLR’s aluminum vehicle architecture and uses a full electric drivetrain. A 70-kWh high-voltage lithium-ion battery is mounted on the underbody and sends power to two motors, one at each axle. The front motor produces 85 kW (114 horsepower) and works through a single-speed transmission, while the other is a 145-kW (195 horsepower) motor that sends power to the rear axle through a two-speed transmission.
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Why it matters
The new platforms are the result of a two-year $25 million research project led by JLR and co-funded by the UK government’s innovation agency. “This is a long-term Jaguar Land Rover research project exploring all aspects of future hybrid and battery electric vehicle technology,” explains JLR Director of Research and Technology Wolfgang Epple. “The three Concept_e vehicles will allow us to test and develop exciting new potential technologies that could form part of our low and zero emissions vision beyond 2020.”
As a smaller company, JLR has lagged behind its German competition in hybrid and electric vehicle technology, but it’s clearly not far off from becoming a reality in road-going Jaguars and Land Rovers. We should start seeing the fruits of these efforts in the next generation of JLR products.