With the recent slump in sales of diesel engine cars in the UK and the imposing higher taxes and restrictions soon to be introduced, Land Rover has rolled out their Range Rover plug-in hybrid electric vehicle ahead of schedule.
This Range Rover rechargeable SUV has a petrol engine so you can have a guilt-free drive. You can safely plug it in at night and commute 15 miles each way using electric power! You only need to fill the tank for long journeys. It is official fuel economy is more than 100mpg!!
The Range Rover was launched in 1970 and was aimed at gentlemen farmers who wanted a bit more luxury and class than the hay bale carrying Land Rovers. It soon became a global sensation – the quintessential off-roader used by everyone, including the Royals! The Range Rover soon became known as the ‘Chelsea Tractor’ and shunned by many as expensive fuel polluting city vehicles! Clogging the streets of London on commutes & school runs! Now, this Chelsea Tractor can come without the guilt, and it is cheap to run! The first year of vehicle excise duty (road tax) is £15, compared with £1,200 for the closest performing diesel Range Rover. More significantly, there’s a potential monthly tax saving of about £830 for company car drivers.
The PHEV doesn’t qualify for all the same benefits as cheaper hybrids — the £2,500 plug-in car grant, for example, applies only to vehicles costing less than £60,000 — but it is exempt from the £11.50-a-day London congestion charge.
The petrol-electric system is managed by a computer and the driver can choose from two modes: Parallel Hybrid (the default) and EV (electric vehicle). In Parallel Hybrid, the computer juggles the two power sources to favour the clean stuff when it can.
On longer trips, there’s a “Save” function to keep electric power in reserve for part of the journey — for example, when entering a city. The driver’s display shows power drain and regeneration as you work the pedals.
There’s a port in the front grille to recharge the battery. The shortest time is 2 hours and 45 minutes, for which you need the right 32-amp wall box. With a domestic plug, it takes 7 hours and 30 minutes. (Land Rover says it doesn’t need to charge as fast as an electric-only Tesla because the vehicle has a back-up petrol engine.)
Inside, it has all the usual Range Rover comforts. The driving position is high up and commands a great view of the road and surroundings — a great place to be for long journeys or in traffic. The Autobiography version has what Land Rover calls “executive class seating”, with massage and recline functions that exceed airline standards of comfort.
Because the PHEV is part of the new 2018 model range, it also offers an improved infotainment system, with twin 10in touch-screens, and wider seats, made possible by the relocation of the controls to the doors, Mercedes-style.
There are a few limitations
The diesel Range Rover can tow as much as 3½ tons, a ton more than the PHEV. The latter also has to carry the extra weight of the 13 kWh battery that powers the motor.
Land Rover has no idea how many people will buy the PHEV, on the one hand, the Range Rover’s natural habitat is the countryside, where owners are more likely to have off-road parking and outdoor sockets. If you live in a flat or on a city street with no driveway, then charging it overnight is less practical.
On the other hand, country folk may be less concerned about diesel than urbanites, living as they do on the farm. They may also be put off by other concerns, such as how the PHEV’s complicated drive system will cope off-road; whether the battery will withstand cold conditions and be prone to fade; and whether the electrics will survive, let’s say, a swollen river. Time will tell how successful the PHEV will be but at least, plug-in technology seems to be popular, offering the advantages of electric driving without time-consuming recharging on long journeys.
Variant: Range Rover 2.0 P400e PHEV Vogue SE
Price: From £70,800
Engine: 1,997cc, 4 cylinders, turbo, petrol, plus electric motor and 13kWh battery
Power: 398bhp @ 5,500rpm
Torque: 472 lb-ft @ 1,500rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic with manual mode, four-wheel drive
Acceleration: 0-62mph: 6.8sec
Top Speed: 137mph
Road Tax Band: £15 for the first year;
Dimensions: 5,000mm x 1,983mm x 1,944mm
Release Date: On sale now
It’s a good start and with diesel cars so out of favour, maybe Land Rover is heading in the right direction with this one. Let’s hope so.