Land Rover is currently developing a diesel hybrid version of its Range Rover Sport model with a targeted sales date in 2012. A small fleet of five vehicles is expected to be road-ready and testing next year.
Currently Range Rover has an excellent luxury and off-road image, but a terrible reputation when it comes to miles per gallon and emissions. Land Rover says this new hybrid Range Rover should emit just 100g/km of CO2, which is far less than the only other hybrid in this segment, the Lexus RX450 at 148 g/km of CO2.
The diesel engine used would be the same 3.0-liter unit used in the current Range Rover Sport diesel model, that makes roughly 245-hp and 443 ft-lbs of torque. It would be mated to a 25kW electric motor and would be a full hybrid setup capable of running on either gasoline, electric power or a combination of both. It will also have an electric-only range of 20 miles.
No estimates of fuel-economy were given, but the current diesel RR Sport averages 30.7 mpg (in the European cycle), so we expect at least a 5 mpg improvement on that.
The high-tech ERAD electric rear axle that that is expected in the LRX model will not be a part of this hybrid package. As for the LRX, it will debut in 2011 and mark a fresh new start for Land Rover as it begins an up-hill battle to re-brand itself as an environmentally responsible automaker.