Land Rover has unveiled the Discovery Sport PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) and Range Rover Evoque PHEV for international markets. The new hybridised variants are vital for the automaker because with no electric Land Rover available yet, they will have a huge impact on reducing the brand’s fleet average CO2 emissions – a metric that is witnessing ever-tightening regulations worldwide.
Designed and engineered entirely in-house, the SUVs are described by Land Rover as featuring “all brand-new tech” produced in a “huge engineering effort”. Work on the powertrain began in 2016 and was done parallel to the creation of the Premium Transverse Architecture (PTA), which made its debut last year in the new Evoque and heavily updated Discovery Sport.
Both PHEV models, dubbed P300e, combine a new 200hp turbocharged three-cylinder 1.5-litre Ingenium petrol engine with an 8-speed automatic gearbox and a 108hp electric motor mounted on the rear axle. The motor links to a Samsung-sourced 15kWh battery pack. The result is a combined system output of 300hp, with total (rather than combined) torque quoted at 540Nm.
While the electric rear axle gives four-wheel drive, Land Rover claims class-leading range and efficiency figures. The Evoque P300e has an electric-only range of up to 66km on the WLTP (Worldwide harmonised Light vehicles Test Procedure) test cycle. The Discovery Sport, being larger and available with seven seats, has an electric-only range that drops to 61km.
Despite their environmental credentials, the P300e models are also the quickest members of their respective ranges. The Evoque P300e can do 0-97kph in 6.1sec and the Discovery Sport in 6.2sec. Both are capable of reaching speeds of up to 135kph on electric power alone. At speeds above that, the electric motor is decoupled to reduce aerodynamic drag, making the cars front-wheel drive.
Charging the cars at home can be done via a Mode 2 cable and a domestic three-pin socket, taking 6hrs 42min, or from a 7kW AC wall box, which can fill the battery from empty to 80 percent of its capacity in 1hr 24min. DC fast charging (up to 32kW) reduces that 0-80 percent time to 30min. The charging port is sited on the rear wing, on the opposite site of the petrol-filler flap.
According to Land Rover, developing the new technology and control systems for a four-wheel-drive plug-in hybrid system was a challenge, but packaging it all into the cars without compromises was just as hard.
The use of the three-cylinder engine was a core part of this. The unit itself is 37kg lighter than the four-pot on which it’s based, with Land Rover claiming “exceptionally low” friction. It’s also said to offer a better flow of exhaust gases to improve turbo response.
Mounted within the system is a belt-integrated starter-generator, allowing regeneration through braking and coasting. The transmission was newly developed for the models by Aisin, rather than Land Rover’s usual supplier, ZF. It weighs 5kg less than the brand’s nine-speed unit and is claimed to offer “enhanced refinement and shift feel”.
The rear axle’s electric drive unit slots between the integral-link rear suspension and needs no physical propshaft, so the drivetrain doesn’t compromise interior space in any way. The automaker has also packaged the exhaust down the side of the car, giving a big new territory to package all of the power electronics in the underneath. Moreover, the whole width of the car has been used for the battery and fuel tank. The latter is unusually large for a PHEV, at 57 litres.
With everything being under the car, there are few compromises. The company claims that since space inside hasn’t been reduced and overhangs, as well as ground clearance, remain the same as the conventionally powered models, it has the liberty to even offer a spare wheel.
Production is still on pause at all Jaguar Land Rover plants, but deliveries of the new P300e models in the global markets are expected to start in the third quarter of this year.
Land Rover launched the new Evoque and heavily updated Discovery Sport in India earlier this year. Both the SUVs are available in P250 and D180 variants. The former uses 249hp, 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine mated to a 48V mild-hybrid system, while the D180 gets a 180hp, 2.0-litre, four-cylinder diesel unit. There has been no official announcement on the P300e variant making it to our market, though Jaguar Land Rover India has already revealed that it plans to introduce electrified products to its line-up moving forward.