Land Rover, builder of some of Europe's biggest SUVs is going earth-friendly in a major way. It claims to be developing a new hybrid powertrain for the Range Rover Sport capable of just 100g/km of CO2 emissions.
That is an exceptionally low figure considering that the Freelander 2 TD4e manual has to make do with a relatively higher 179g/km. Even the Lexus RX450h produces a bigger figure of 148g/km. Only cars like the Citroën C1 and Ford Focus Econetic have comparable emissions numbers.
Using the new 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine and a 25kW (34hp) electric motor, the hybrid will be capable of a 20 mile (32km) electric-only range. It is understood a plug-in system is to be fitted, with extra electrical energy stored in a battery pack. A conventional storage system for the electrical charge seems to be the preferred technology and not the ultra-capacitors that the company has been testing, despite the high off-road usability of the latter due to its short, sharp energy boost capabilities.
This will be the British brand's first hybrid but it probably won't be the last. The confirmed-for-production LRX was presented with a hybrid powertrain at the 2008 New York Auto Show.
Ambitious as this project may seem, Land Rover is quite confident it will be achieved. Market launch is 2012 and testing begins next year where up to five prototypes will be used.