Land Rover Unveils 'Range_e,' a Diesel-Electric Plug-In Hybrid SUV

By · February 16, 2011

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"Diesel-electric plug-in hybrid SUV" might be a bit of a mouthful, but it's a mouthful many alternative vehicle supporters have drooled over for some time. And by combining the efficiency and torque of a diesel engine with an electric drivetrain that allows 20 miles of zero-tailpipe emissions on a full battery into the body of a tried and true SUV, Range Rover has succeeded in building a slobber-worthy concept.

With an official unveiling at the Geneva Auto Show in a couple of weeks, the Range_e, as it's called, is little more than a pumped up show car right now with few actual associated statistics. Even so it could provide practical hints regarding future vehicles from the legendary SUV company. Range Rover says the Range_e is one of "several" prototypes it is currently testing at design and engineering centers in Britain.

Based on the existing Range Rover Sport, the Range_e has a 3 liter turbodiesel V6 engine coupled to an an eight-speed automatic transmission. That system is in turn mated to a plug-in parallel diesel hybrid system, which provides a maximum range of 20 miles on battery power alone. Top speed is about 120mph and it has a total range of 690 miles (diesel+electricity) without being refueled or plugged-in.

Given that it's a Range Rover, it should come as no surprise that the Range_e has 4WD. But the Range_e has something surprising that no other Range Rover can claim: scant emissions of 89 g of CO2 per kilometer. Keep in mind that, as a plug-in hybrid, there are all sorts of methods manufacturers can use to make the emissions look better than they are. In lieu of an explanation of how the emissions stats were derived, take that one with a grain of salt.

The Range_e certainly looks more like a production car than a concept, so it may not be too long before a plug-in hybrid diesel system is offered as a drivetrain option on the Range Rover Sport. Whether it comes to the U.S. or not is another question.

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