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by Ed Evans, 5th May 2016

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Jaguar Land Rover is investing heavily in the technology of the future and its engineers are leading the way. Ed Evans reports...

Regardless of individual views on the effects of CO2 in the atmosphere, the potential consequences of increased levels continue to justify a precautionary ongoing reduction.
The good news for companies such as JLR, who have recently invested hugely in diesel engines, is that diesels produce significantly less CO2 than petrol engines. Diesels are likely to be around in increasing stages of refinement for the immediate future, powering larger vehicles while downsized petrol engines and hybrid installations will no doubt be the norm for smaller and lighter vehicles.
Hybrid options are already available on the larger Land Rover models including Range Rover and Sport, and it’s possible that in the future, the electric propulsion component of large hybrid vehicles will dictate the ultimate performance of a given model; perhaps utilising a similar diesel engine throughout the range, with varying powers of electric drive adding more performance to the top end models.
Battery-electric vehicles still await breakthroughs in technology before pure electric drive becomes a commercial reality for the mainstream mass manufacturers. JLR has already developed an electric drive module as part of a far-reaching research project into future potential propulsion methods. Its drive unit is claimed to produce double the torque of any unit presently in production and is designed for use with a traditional combustion engine or on its own in a pure battery-electric vehicle.
JLR’s engineers are leading this £16.3m two-year research project in partnership with 12 other UK organisations including GKN Driveline, Williams Advanced Engineering, Tata Steel and Bristol, Cranford and Newcastle universities.
Three research demonstrators have been produced under the name, Concept_e, with each showcasing a section of hybrid/electric drive technology, with the battery-electric vehicle using the new electric module mentioned above. The vehicles also provide research platforms for a raft of other upcoming technologies aimed at meeting environmental challenges and placing JLR and UK suppliers in a position to lead future development. Here is a rundown of the three vehicle platforms.


The research platform for this technology is a Range Rover Evoque with a 48-volt electrical system and powered by a prototype diesel engine. An electric motor/generator is fitted between the engine and the normal nine-speed transmission. Mild hybrid electric motor/generator systems can provide engine cranking for start-up, can assist the engine by adding extra torque during acceleration and, in some instances, provide motive power when coasting allowing the engine to shut down. In conjunction with a lithium ion battery, the motor/generator can convert braking energy into stored electrical power.


This Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) system is installed in a Range Rover Sport 2, which is powered by a prototype four-cylinder petrol engine driving through the model’s conventional eight speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive system. The PHEVs are similar to mild hybrids (MHEV), but using a more powerful motor/generator system that provides more versatile electric propulsion in conjunction with a larger lithium ion battery pack that can be re-charged from the grid. In the case of the Sport research vehicle, a 320 volt battery is located in the rear load space, giving enhanced electric performance.
Seen in the picture above, this demonstrator (BEV) is built on an unspecified JLR aluminium body architecture with the underbody modified to take a 70 kilowatt hour traction battery. Power is supplied to the wheels by front and rear electric drive axles, each containing an electric motor.
This research does not necessarily represent the technology that we will see in future Land Rovers. But it ensures Land Rover stays at the forefront of technology, and a skills base is developed in the UK, allowing JLR to evaluate and develop the best systems for the future. 

Electric Propulsion
Electric Propulsion

Electric Propulsion

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