The Land Rover Range_e is the latest manufacture to enter the event and has allocated three of its concept Range_e models, which made its debut at this year's Geneva Motor Show. This development model is equipped with an advanced plug-in hybrid diesel-electric powertrain that Land Rover expects to make available in future production models, following the scheduled launch of its diesel-electric hybrid in 2013.
The Range_e is one of a number of Land Rover projects supported by the UK Government's Technology Strategy Board and five prototype models are currently engaged in a test programme with Land Rover's fellow members of the CABLED - Coventry and Birmingham Low Emissions Demonstrators - consortium.
Land Rover anticipates its plug-in hybrid system will be brought to market in the near future, following on from the debut of its first standard diesel-electric hybrid models from 2013.
The Range_e is based on the Range Rover Sport and uses the current 245PS 3.0-litre TDV6 diesel engine, working with an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission and a 69kW electric motor. Using a parallel hybrid system, with a 14.2kW/h lithium-ion battery that can be recharged from an external 240V power source, the Range_e can be driven on electric power alone for more than 20 miles, with zero harmful tailpipe emissions. Overall CO2 emissions are just 89g/km.
An increasing number of major automotive manufacturers are, like Land Rover, choosing to showcase pre-production low-energy vehicles at the RAC Future Car Challenge. Not only does this promote them to a large audience being driven on public roads but the robust energy measurement processes, directed by Dr Ricardo Martinez-Botas of the New Energy Lab at Imperial College London,give reliable information on their performance.
Ben Cussons, Chairman of the Royal Automobile Club Motoring Committee and the FCC Technical Panel, says: "We very much welcome the involvement of Land Rover by entering three of its prototype Range_e vehicles. The RAC Future Car Challenge is, by definition, an event to bring future vehicle technology to the attention of the car buying public. This will enable them to make better informed choices when considering the environmental impact of future vehicle purchases."