Land Rover's luxury mud-plugging image isn't fairing well in an era of high gas prices and eco concerns, so its rolled out two new technologies at the London Motor Show to prove that the automaker has its eye on a sustainable future.
Two LR2 prototypes are on hand featuring a parallel hybrid system mated to a turbo diesel engine. Testing is currently underway and so far, LR has seen a reduction in CO2 emissions by up to 20 percent. The Electric Rear Axle Drive (ERAD), originally shown on the LRX concept, can deliver power to all four wheels through a 288-volt electric motor producing around 150 lb.-ft. of torque. When complete, the system is expected to proliferate across the Land Rover line-up, along with a new lightweight architecture and a refined start-stop system, under the banner of e_Terrain Technologies.
The second development is the Crankshaft Integrated Starter Generator (CISG), which incorporates an electric motor into a dual clutch transmission, giving a boost in torque and starting the diesel mill.
Both systems aren't going to be ready for primetime for a few more years, but Land Rover's start-stop technology should find its way to production sometime next year.
[Source: Land Rover]
Land Rover's engineers are now conducting real-world tests with some ground-breaking Diesel ERAD Hybrid vehicles, aimed at dramatically cutting CO2 and other emissions while still delivering characteristic Land Rover all-terrain performance. These engineering 'mules' are based on Freelander 2 vehicles, but the technology is designed to be scalable and modular, so could be applied across a variety of Land Rover models and powertrains.
This programme is one of a broad range of sustainability-focused engineering programmes that Land Rover is pursuing, brought together by the company under the collective name e_TERRAIN TECHNOLOGIES.
In addition to these Diesel ERAD Hybrids, Land Rover is developing a range of other emissions-busting and fuel-saving technologies that will start appearing on its production vehicles from now and over the next decade. These range from a stop-start function – which will be available next year as standard on all manual diesel Freelander 2 models – to other advanced hybrid systems and lightweight vehicle architectures.
"Our innovative ERAD technology featured in the LRX concept car unveiled earlier this year, and we're now starting to deliver on our sustainability commitments with full, on-road prototypes," says Phil Popham, Land Rover's Managing Director. "These Diesel ERAD Hybrids mark a crucial point for Land Rover, where engineering concept is seen to become reality and our vehicles start to combine their formidable all-terrain capability with our radical new e_TERRAIN TECHNOLOGIES."
Diesel ERAD Hybrid overview
Land Rover's Diesel ERAD Hybrid was developed as part of a multi-million-pound project supported by the UK Government's Energy Saving Trust, under the low carbon research and development programme. The objective is to develop a 'parallel' hybrid drive system compatible with all-terrain four-wheel-drive capability. As parallel hybrids, the vehicles can be driven solely by electric power or by the diesel engine, or by a combination of both. The system is designed to reduce CO2 by more than 20 per cent under the NEDC test cycle and to cut it by a substantial 30 per cent in 'real-life' urban conditions where hybrid technologies really come into their own.
Under many circumstances, today's generation of petrol electric hybrids are little more efficient than the best modern diesel engines without hybrid technology. So Land Rover's ambition is to add the benefits of a full hybrid system to modern, clean and efficient diesel powertrains, giving a win-win situation. To help deliver this, Land Rover has developed its own, unique Electric Rear Axle Drive (ERAD) system, which actually has the potential to enhance the vehicle's all-terrain capability.