Land Rover is ensuring its range of luxury SUVs has a safe future despite high fuel prices, with the aid of hybrid and more advanced plug-in hybrid technologies. The automaker has already built several electrified prototypes and concept vehicles in the recent past, which we have reported on in great detail, but now we have solid info on the timeline for their respective production debuts.
Next year Land Rover is scheduled to introduce is next-generation Range Rover SUV, spy shots of which you can see by clicking here. This will be followed in 2013 by a gasoline-electric hybrid version as part of the brand’s "top-down" strategy for electrified vehicles. A plug-in hybrid version would then debut in the following year.
The information was revealed by Land Rover global brand director John Edwards. He explained the top-down strategy meant Land Rover would be focusing on the larger models first as this is "where the greatest consumption gains are to be made."
The higher pricetag of these high-end models would also allow Land Rover to recoup more of the steep development costs its new green technology requires. Sadly, this also means there are no immediate plans for a hybrid version of the stylish new Range Rover Evoque.
The new Range Rover hybrid, meanwhile, is expected to feature an electric motor connected in parallel with a gasoline V-6. In this way, Land Rover would be able to offer customers a drivetrain with V-8 like power but with the fuel economy of a six.
A diesel-electric hybrid is off the cards for now, Edwards said, explaining that the cost of building such a vehicle would be too high and it wouldn’t appeal as greatly to U.S. customers, the prime target for Land Rover’s new range of hybrid luxury SUVs.
As for the plug-in hybrid model, this would feature a more powerful electric motor and batteries that would be able to carry the big SUV for short distances on electric power alone, possibly up to 40 miles. Owners could then charge up the batteries using a regular household power outlet or a small, range-extending internal combustion engine could fire up, acting as a generator and charging the batteries whilst on the move.
The good news is that Land Rover’s sister company, Jaguar, would also be a recipient of any new green technologies. For more details on the workings of the actual technology, click here.