This prototype Range Rover undergoing testing is understood to show the progress being made to productionise a parallel hybrid version of the next generation of Britain’s best-selling luxury car.
With the promise of a CO2 rating below 150g/km, the Range Rover hybrid is likely to make a big impact in the luxury car market when it launches around 2013/14.
The giveaway on this prototype is said to be the alloy-framed dark box positioned behind and below the rear bumper where the spare wheel would normally be fitted.
This is a convenient location to package hybrid parts on a prototype, although in production a more protected position, possibly inside the car, would be preferable.
Under the skin the powertrain of the Range_e model, previewed in a Range Rover Sport body at the Geneva motor show earlier this year, is expected to feature an electric motor in place of the torque converter of the eight-speed ZF transmission.
Similar Bosch-supplied parallel hybrid tech is used by Porsche on the hybrid Cayenne and by Volkswagen on its Touareg.
This Range Rover is understood to have been in the hands of Bosch engineers when scooped by our photographer.
A prototype Range_e that Autocar drove earlier this year featured a 69kW electric motor and a 14.2kWh lithium ion battery with plug-in technology. The production Range_e is understood not to feature plug-in tech, saving weight and complexity.
The plug-in battery pack weighs in at a hefty 200kg, which would eat up much of the 450kg weight saving that the new alloy body construction will bring to the new Range Rover.
Julian RendellRead Autocar's Range_e first drive