Of Course The Next Land Rover Defender Will Be Electrified
People might act surprised when automakers release a new fully electric vehicle or a hybrid version of an old favorite. Ford, for example, says a hybrid version of the F-150 is coming. There’s even talk of a hybrid Jeep Wrangler in the next few years. As such, it should come to nobody’s surprise that the next-generation Land Rover Defender will also have an electrified drivetrain. What exactly that entails, not even Land Rover has the specifics nailed down. Add to that Land Rover’s official statement confirming every one of its models will have an electrified version by 2020. So yeah, the next Defender will be electric in some way.
It would be a safe bet Land Rover will use a similar hybrid drivetrain found in the recently revealed Range Rover P400e and Range Rover Sport P400e. The system consists of a 2.0-liter four-cylinder mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with an 85-kW electric motor sandwiched between. A 13.1-kWh lithium-ion battery supplies the power, while regenerative braking and engine power recharge the battery when in motion. When parked, a P400e’s battery is plugged in for charging. Impressively, both P400e versions have an all-electric range of 31 miles.
As for the new Defender, it’s reported to abandon the traditional body-on-frame design for Land Rover’s modern, aluminum-intensive unibody architecture. The Defender is expected to keep its tradition of a two-door soft-top and a four-door hard-top version. We’re just hoping it retains the boxy shape that’s made it an icon. Land Rover is expected to debut the Defender sometime in 2018 with production versions hitting dealerships worldwide in 2019.
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Jaguar Land Rover is set to return to motor racing. A press conference to announce the British car marker’s plans has been scheduled for next week, according to a report from Sky News.
The specific details of the press conference are still unclear at this point, but all signs seem to point to the company announcing its intention to compete in the Formula E World Championship, becoming the latest manufacturer to throw its name into the young series. The other automakers that are already involved in Formula E are Audi, Renault, and Peugeot.
The company’s decision to join Formula E is reportedly tied into its plans to enter the electric car world, especially with the series’ whole revolving around the propagation of electric technology. Apart from the obvious competitive standpoint, JLR believes that being a part of Formula E will give it the proper environment to boost the development of its electric road car program. After all, there’s no other racing series in the world that offers comprehensive live testing for electrification technology.
It’s unlikely that JLR will be able to enter a full racing team this season since it’s already underway. In fact, Jaguar’s pending announcement will happen a few weeks before the third round of the season at Uruguay. A formal accreditation from the FIA is also still in the works. Until JLR secures that, it won’t be able to compete in the series. If the company really is going all-in on its involvement in Formula E, look for it to spend the remainder of the season preparing for its entry next year.
That’s going to give the company, and the team it eventually fields, enough time to get settled in with a functioning racing team and a full driver lineup.
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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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“Electrification” has become a prominent buzz word in the auto industry these days. British luxury brand Land Rover doesn’t have a presence in that segment yet but that could change soon, thanks to a report indicating the company is considering a battery-powered Range Rover model. Autocar is reporting that an electric Range Rover is under strong consideration and could take the form of an entirely new, low-roofed, crossover model instead of a battery-powered version of the existing Range Rover.
Jaguar Land Rover group engineering director Wolfgang Ziebart didn’t go into specifics, but hinted that Land Rover could have a potential market on its hands for wealthy families looking to buy a “second or third car." Zeibart’s comments were echoed by Land Rover design chief Gerry McGovern, who indicated that the brand’s current expansion plans could include “incredibly luxurious, low-slung” Range Rovers, one of which could be packaged as a purely electric vehicle.
But those plans come with certain caveats, and pretty significant ones if it were to progress forward. One challenge is to build a smaller model that has a smaller frontal area and the other challenge would be that the model would have to rival the Tesla Model S’s 265-mile range. Failing to do both would make it difficult for the company to justify building an electric model, let alone one that uses the current aerodynamic profile of the Range Rover.
The Range Rover’s current aluminum-monocoque architecture will be the basis of the model, but it would be modified significantly to accommodate the needs of a battery pack. There’s also the possibility that the model will use the same suspension of the Jaguar CX-17 while also benefiting from an all-wheel-drive system and possibly a road-based setup that allows it to improve its aerodynamic capabilities and preserve the range of the battery pack.
The last condition being thrown out is the price. An electric Range Rover will likely cost north of £90,000 ($140,753 as of 10/31/2014), which could prove to be too steep even for wealthy and discerning customers. The company plans to offset that by giving these customers a powerful model with high standard spec numbers.
Note: Land Rover Range Rover pictured here.
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Well, it didn’t take long to receive confirmation on the story we brought forth only yesterday. Land Rover confirmed today that the company is indeed preparing a hybrid Range Rover and that it will be unveiled in 2013. The first testings will begin in late 2010.
The Land Rover Range_e features a diesel-electric hybrid powertrain and a new ZF eight-speed automatic that will be used in all of the future models. Land Rover said that the company is also considering adding a petrol-electric hybrid system.
The first model said to be introduced with the hybrid technology will be the Range Rover Sport with the full-sized Range Rover and the Land Rover Discovery not being too far behind. The hybrid version of the Range Rover will be priced at around £10k, but Land Rover is also considering a plug-in hybrid model for 2015. This plug-in hybrid Range Rover is one of the most exciting developments. Chief engineer of hybrids at Jaguar Land Rover, Peter Richings, said: "It means you can drive a Range Rover for at least 20 miles on full electric power around town, emissions of less than 100g/km and speeds of up to 70mph in EV mode."
After Fisker and Tesla, another manufacturer called Liberty Electric Cars Ltd announced that it will invest £30 million in developing an electric drive-train platform which will be used to power a wide range of large vehicles. This will include an electrically powered Range Rover which will cost between £95,000 and £125,000 depending on model and specification.
The Liberty Range Rover will be able to be driven approximately 200 miles before needing a recharge and according to the manufacturer the electric motor will provide superior acceleration while the torque will be available at all times.