Currently reading: Land Rover launches Discovery Sport and Evoque plug-in hybrids
Fleet-friendly Discovery Sport and Evoque match three-cylinder petrol engine with electric motor
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5 mins read
22 April 2020

Land Rover has bucked the industry trend during the pandemic-induced shutdowns by launching two vital new models: the Discovery Sport PHEV and Range Rover Evoque PHEV.

Available to order now, the plug-in hybrid variants are arguably as important as the new Defender in terms of sales, because they’re targeted at the lucrative fleet markets. With no electric Land Rover available yet, they will also have a huge impact on reducing the brand’s fleet average CO2 emissions, which must be done in order to avoid fines from the EU.

Designed and engineered entirely in-house, the SUVs are described by Land Rover PHEV vehicle engineering manager Chris Carey as featuring “all brand new tech” produced in a “huge engineering effort”.

Work on the powertrain began in 2016 and was done in parallel with the creation of the Premium Transverse Architecture (PTA), which made its debut last year in the new Evoque and heavily updated Discovery Sport.

Both PHEV models, dubbed P300e, combine a new 197bhp turbocharged three-cylinder 1.5-litre Ingenium petrol engine with an eight-speed automatic gearbox and a 107bhp electric motor mounted on the rear axle. That links to a Samsung-sourced 15kWh battery pack. The result is a combined system output of 296bhp, with total (rather than combined) torque quoted at 398lb ft.

While the electric rear axle gives four-wheel drive, Land Rover claims class-leading range and efficiency figures.

The Evoque P300e emits 32g/km of CO2, is capable of up to 201.8mpg and achieves an electric-only range of up to 41 miles, all on WLTP test cycles.

The Discovery Sport, being larger (but not available in PHEV form with seven seats), officially emits 36g/km of CO2, while its economy falls to 175.5mpg and its electric-only range drops to 38 miles.

The figures mean low company car tax for both, with the Evoque incurring a benefit-in-kind (BIK) rate of just 6% for 2020/2021.

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Despite their environmental credentials, the P300e models are also the quickest members of their respective ranges. The Evoque P300e can do 0-60mph in 6.1sec and the Discovery Sport in 6.2sec.

Both are capable of reaching speeds of up to 84mph on electric power alone. At speeds above that, the electric motor is decoupled to reduce aerodynamic drag, making the cars front-wheel-drive.

Charging the cars at home can be done via a Mode 2 cable and a domestic three-pin socket, taking 6hrs and 42 mins, or from a 7kW AC wallbox, which can fill the battery from empty to 80% of its capacity in 1hr 24 mins. DC fast-charging (up to 32kW) reduces that 0-80% time to 30 minutes.

The charging port is sited on the rear wing, on the opposite site of the petrol filler flap.

Developing the new technology and control systems for an four-wheel-drive plug-in hybrid system was a challenge, Carey told Autocar, but packaging it all into the cars without compromises was just as hard.

The use of the three-cylinder engine was a core part of this. The unit itself is 37kg lighter than the four-pot on which it’s based, with Land Rover claiming “exceptionally low” friction. It’s also said to offer a better flow of exhaust gases to improve turbo response.

Mounted within the system is a belt-integrated starter-generator, allowing regeneration through braking and coasting. The transmission was newly developed for the models by Aisin, rather than Land Rover’s usual supplier, ZF. It weighs 5kg less than the brand’s nine-speed unit and is claimed to offer “enhanced refinement and shift feel”.

The rear axle’s electric drive unit slots between the integral-link rear suspension and needs no physical propshaft, so the drivetrain doesn’t compromise interior space in any way.

“We’ve also packaged the exhaust down the side of the car,” Carey said, “giving us a big new territory to package all of the power electronics in underneath. We’ve also been able to use the whole width of the car for the battery and fuel tank”. The latter is unusually large for a PHEV, at 57 litres.

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“Everything is under the car, so there are few compromises,” Carey continued. “We can still offer a spare wheel, we haven’t reduced any space inside, the overhangs are the same and ground clearance is the same”.

The Evoque P300e is priced from £43,850 in S trim. SE and HSE trims (with or without the R-Dynamic pack, which brings sportier styling) are also available. The Discovery Sport comes in the same three trims but only with the R-Dynamic pack. It costs from £45,370.

Production is still on pause at all Jaguar Land Rover plants, but deliveries of the new P300e models are expected to start in the third quarter of this year.

Q&A: Chris Carey, PHEV vehicle engineering manager

How big a job was integrating all the new components without compromising anything?

“Everything here is brand new tech. Not just the mechanicals but also the software: the vehicle control systems that work in harmony with the front and rear axle are all new to us. I started on this powertrain about three-and-a-half to four years ago. When we launched the new platform in the Discovery Sport and Evoque, this was all ready.”

Does switching to a three-cylinder engine harm refinement?

“If you lose a cylinder, the firing order changes, and that inherent three-cylinder character is something we’ve worked really really hard to mitigate. The benefits speak for themselves: we’ve got the weight benefit and the packaging benefit. We don’t see a big detriment between four cylinders and three cylinders [in refinement terms], as we’ve done some really special work on the mountings in 18 months.”

Are these as capable off-road as the standard cars?

“This was more capable off-road than the conventional petrol or diesel versions in our seasonal testing. The levels of control and composure that you’ve got, and the seamless control between front and rear axle, means we can put a lot of torque to the rear and then already predict the need to bring in the front axle to go through those surfaces.”

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Comments
25

22 April 2020

Have they forgotten it exists? It should have been the first car in their line up to get a PHEV version.

22 April 2020
tuga wrote:

Have they forgotten it exists? It should have been the first car in their line up to get a PHEV version.

 

Most of the new D.S. models were mild hybrid anyway and the regular customer base still wants powerful diesel cars (which are impressive). Clearly the packaging issues took time to resolve and I suspect they were waiting for emissions regulations to be clarified before fine-tuning the drivetrain. One also supposes that made-in-asia Samsung batteries weren't quite so available this year with CNY being early and followed by CV lockdown...

22 April 2020

 

tuga wrote:

Have they forgotten it exists? It should have been the first car in their line up to get a PHEV version.

The Evoque & Discovery Sport are their biggest sellers. Also the Velar is really an XE/XF/F-Pace, even if it outsells all of those. I think if that platform could have a hybrid engine fitted, we would have heard about it by now. 

22 April 2020

The 4 cylinder is already miles behind in refinement, so this is a little worse.

How much does this monstrosity weigh?

22 April 2020

Unless i have missed something they have overlooked one of the key markets for the Disco Sport, those who tow who are probably more numerous than owners who go off-road.....

22 April 2020
adrian888 wrote:

Unless i have missed something they have overlooked one of the key markets for the Disco Sport, those who tow who are probably more numerous than owners who go off-road.....

 

You should assume that JLR wants to capture more of the company-car market and those who want PHEV SUVs in the future, not just towers...

22 April 2020

The E-Pace needs this engine too. Perhaps as it’s the oldest of the three it owes too much to the old platform. 

22 April 2020

could drive around a town without polluting it.

22 April 2020
Rtfazeberdee wrote:

could drive around a town without polluting it.

Youre happy with this car polluting the town where the power station is then ? Cos thats where the pollution will be when this car runs on electricity. Out of sight out of mind I uess is your logic.

22 April 2020
typos1 wrote:

Rtfazeberdee wrote:

could drive around a town without polluting it.

Youre happy with this car polluting the town where the power station is then ? Cos thats where the pollution will be when this car runs on electricity. Out of sight out of mind I uess is your logic.

You picked a bad day to make you're usual negative view on electric propulsion, 23% wind power and 0% coal.  Out of sight, as in out in the English channel maybe

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