Land Rover’s test-bed for it’s future diesel-electric hybrid plugin – all wrapped up in the Range Rover Sport Range-e – has grabbed an SMMT award for innovation.
Just like every other car maker in the world, Jaguar Land Rover are flirting with and developing hybrid powerplants to keep the government-targeted economy and CO2 levels in check, even though neither Jaguar or Land Rover are close to actually launching a hybrid.
In fact, Jaguar recently said that 4WD was the next ambition for their cars – not hybrids – and we won’t see a hybrid from Land Rover until the next wave of Land Rover models start to hit the road in 2013. And even then, any hybrid powerplant is likely to be well after initial launch.
But that hasn’t stopped Land Rover running the Range Rover Sport based Range-e as a development mule for their diesel-electric hybrid plugin. Even though we always thought Land Rover would go the range-extender route instead of the hybrid one. When did that idea go out of the window?
Still, Land Rover starting running a round a small fleet of Range-e cars last year to test the tech, and even took the Range-e to Geneva this year where they were busy telling us it did 900mpg and emitted pure oxygen (almost).
But what Land Rover are achieving with the Range-e is impressive (even if we don’t think the headline figures are any more credible in the real world than anyone else’s hybrid figures), with the 3.0 litre diesel the Sport already has (in 241bhp trim) coupled to a 93bhp electric motor powered by a 14.2 kWh bank of lithium-ion batteries
So impressive is the tech that Land Rover has now scooped the 2011 Award for Automotive Innovation by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive, said:
Jaguar Land Rover has engineered and manufactured a highly efficient and technologically advanced prototype vehicle that clearly demonstrates industry’s commitment to lowering vehicle emissions and creating exciting products for demanding consumers.
This award champions industry innovation, promoting cutting-edge automotive engineering and design that the UK is famed for around the world.
Which is a nice little feather in Land Rover’s cap, even if we’re years away (if at all) from a Range Rover Hybrid.