LONDON -- Responding to regulatory pressure to improve fuel economy and reduce CO2 emissions, Land Rover plans to introduce diesel-hybrid versions of its new Range Rover and Range Rover Sport models.
Land Rover will start taking orders for the hybrids after their unveilings next month at the Frankfurt auto show, where prices also will be announced. Deliveries will start early next year.
A Land Rover spokesman told Automotive News Europe that the markets for the hybrids will include Europe, China, Australia, Korea and Taiwan. There are no plans for U.S. sales at the moment but that might change if sales of diesel-powered vehicles increase substantially, a spokesman said.
Land Rover decided to develop diesel-hybrids rather than gasoline-electric hybrids because diesels have better fuel economy. "Our aim was to build the most efficient hybrid we could," the spokesman said.
The hybrids would allow Land Rover to take advantage of local tax rules and incentives, particularly for company car drivers, according to IHS Automotive senior analyst Ian Fletcher. They will also help reduce Jaguar Land Rover's overall CO2 emissions, he said.
The SUVs' hybrid powertrain combines a 3.0-liter V-6 diesel engine with a 35 kilowatt electric motor to reduce fuel use by 26 percent to 6.4 liters per 100km (37 U.S. mpg/44 UK mpg), Land Rover says. CO2 emissions will be 169 grams per kilometer.
Land Rover rivals sell gasoline-electric hybrids such as the Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid, the Lexus RX450h and the U.S.-only Mercedes ML450 Hybrid.
Land Rover said the hybrid system including a lithium ion battery pack, electric motor and inverter adds 120kg in weight to the standard Range Rover and Range Rover Sport. The battery pack is mounted beneath the floor. The Sport can still be bought with the third row of seats because it doesn't impact on interior space.
Integrated with an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission, the 35kW electric power increases the performance to 340-hp on both hybrid models.
Land Rover says the resulting performance is similar to that of V-8 diesel versions, with the 0-100kph acceleration taking less than 7 seconds for both hybrids.
The hybrid system was engineered in-house using an electric motor and battery sourced from unnamed external suppliers.
Sister brand Jaguar last year cancelled plans to launch a hybrid supercar based on the 2010 C-X75 concept. However, a statement from Jaguar Land Rover, owned by Indian's Tata, said the car's hybrid technologies and carbon composite materials would be used for future products.