Land Rover will launch its first hybrid Discovery as part of a roster of updates aimed at boosting the model’s sales, which continue to fall below expectations.
Photos of this camouflaged prototype show a substantial disguise for what is described by a Land Rover source as a “model-year update”, suggesting the changes are more far reaching than the usual equipment upgrades and light tweaks. More revealing still, however, is that this prototype is registered as a hybrid-electric model.
Land Rover has yet to officially confirm which hybrid powertrain this test mule is using. It’s possible the brand is considering introducing a plug-in hybrid variant with the four-cylinder P400e system used on the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport.
However, Autocar understands the model spotted testing is a mild hybrid, using the 48V system added to the Range Rover last year. The only current Land Rover system suitable for a car of this size and weight is the latest 3.0-litre straight-six turbo petrol engine mated to a starter/generator and 48V battery.
However, given the Discovery’s diesel-heavy mix, expect such a system to be introduced in the four- and six-cylinder oil-burners for the seven-seat SUV’s launch, likely at the end of 2020.