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.

James Wolfcale
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Press Release

Jaguar Land Rover has revealed some of the new and innovative low and zero emission powertrain technologies it is researching at this year’s CENEX Low Carbon Vehicle event.

Jaguar Land Rover Reveals Its Electric Drive Module Technology Exterior Drivetrain
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Three Concept_e research demonstrators showcase this far-reaching future research, which includes a new unique high performance, modular electric drive module (eDM) developed in-house by Jaguar Land Rover. These are capable of producing twice the power and torque of any electric motor-generator in production today. These can be inserted between any engine and transmission to create MHEV or PHEV, or used alone for a BEV.

The Concept_e technologies are the output of an advanced powertrain research programme for state-of-the-art, next-generation hybrid and battery-electric powertrain technologies which began in 2013.

Led by Jaguar Land Rover, this two year £16.3m research project is part-funded by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK1 and involves 12 UK technology partners2. It has brought together leading engineers and technologists from academia, the supply chain and industry to create a number of unique and innovative solutions.

Dr Wolfgang Epple, Director of Research and Technology, Jaguar Land Rover, said: “This is a long-term Jaguar Land Rover research project exploring all aspects of future hybrid and battery electric vehicle technology. 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.

“The project is also helping to develop the UK’s skills and capabilities in alternative powertrains. We are serious about helping the UK become a world-wide leader in powertrain technologies. Collaborative research programmes like this allow us to multiply the effect of our own R&D investment and nurture the UK’s technology supply chain. This approach is helping to develop the skills and technologies that will make the UK even more competitive in the future.”

Dr Ruth McKernan, Chief Executive at Innovate UK said: “The world-leading results of this collaborative R&D project not only justify our investment in the project, but promise significant economic benefits for the UK automotive industry and its supply chains. Our £230m investment in the sector over the past 8 years has helped the industry complete a remarkable turnaround, with the UK now seen as the pre-eminent global hub for automotive innovation.”

The three Concept_e research demonstrators include:

Jaguar Land Rover Reveals Its Electric Drive Module Technology Brochure - Marketing
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Concept_e MHEV. The Mild Hybrid is based on a Range Rover Evoque donor vehicle and features a prototype diesel engine (90 PS) and a 48V electrical system. It incorporates a 15 kW crank integrated motor with disconnect clutch within a hybrid module sandwiched between the engine and 9 speed transmission. The motor-generator is powered by an advanced 48-volt electrical system and 48-volt lithium ion battery pack.
Concept_e PHEV. The Plug-In Hybrid employs a similar architecture to the MHEV but with a prototype petrol engine (300 PS) and 8 speed transmission longitudinally mounted within a Range Rover Sport donor vehicle. The electric motor is capable of up to 150 kW and also takes up the function of the starter motor. The motor draws electrical energy from a 320-volt lithium ion battery packaged in the boot. The hybrid powerplant drives through the conventional automatic gearbox normally fitted to the Range Rover Sport and the full time four-wheel drive system is retained.
Concept_e BEV is a bespoke research demonstrator based on Jaguar Land Rover’s aluminium vehicle architecture. The underbody has been modified to mount the 70 kWh HV lithium ion traction battery and electric axle drive (EAD) units. The front drive unit features a single speed transmission coupled with an 85 kW electric motor. The rear drive unit features a twin speed transmission coupled with a 145 kW electric motor.

Dr Epple added: “Environmental Innovation is at the heart of our business. We have a wide-ranging low emissions technology strategy, which has created innovations like our Ingenium engine family and lighter vehicles. Technologies like these have already helped us reduce our fleet CO2 average by 25 per cent in recent years.

“Our future vision is to continue to reduce emissions and improve fuel efficiency while still delivering the luxury, performance, refinement and comfort our customers expect. Whether it’s optimising the internal combustion engine, advanced hybrid and battery-electric propulsion systems, the introduction of new, lightweight materials or the improvement of energy conservation through more efficient heating and ventilation technologies, we are leaving no stone unturned to ensure Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles emit significantly less emissions in the future.”

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