There’s a fascinating, official, insight into the future of Jaguar Land Rover buried in yesterday’s Sunday Times’ Business section.
Of the four ‘green’ projects – all supported by the government’s Technology Strategy Board - most surprising is the ‘Limo Green’ concept.
Based on the new XJ saloon, the LG is – like the Chevrolet Volt - a self-charging electric vehicle. Jaguar says the LG, which is likely to cost £500m, will be launched in 2011.
Rather than having a conventional engine and electric motors (which are both connected to the wheels in a conventional hybrid) the LG is powered primarily by its lithium-ion battery packs, which in turn drive a 170bhp electric motor and two-speed transmission.
The battery packs will be charged by a 47bhp Lotus-designed petrol engine, which runs at a constant speed to keep consumption and emissions to an absolute minimum. The LG can also be plugged into the mains for an overnight recharge.
Apparently the LG’s aluminium monocoque will be further lightened through the use of composites, so that the whole vehicle will come in at 1350kg. Early estimates suggest the LG will be good for 57mpg and 120g/km. However, the car’s exhaust will be close to completely pollutant-free, a crucial advantage for future US sales.
Expect to see an LG concept alongside the dramatic new XJ production saloon this autumn.
Also in the pipeline is the REHEV (Range Extended Electric Vehicle) project, which has already been previewed in the Land_e concept car. This sees an electric motor built into the car’s rear axle (powered by a battery pack), which can drive the car via the rear wheels in pure electric mode as well as working alongside the petrol engine in rough conditions.
This system is being worked on for the three-strong Freelander family (which will eventually include the small LRX and a new seven-seat Freelander spin-off). However, something similar is almost certainly destined for the next-generation T5 platform, which will underpin the Disco 4, Range Rover 4 and Range Rover Sport replacement.
The Sunday Times also confirms Autocar’s story that Jaguar is working on fitting a KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) to future models. This takes the form of a flywheel that recovers and stores energy when the car is slowing. Jaguar says that fitted to a V6 diesel XF, fuel consumption improves by 20 per cent. Expect to see KERS on Jaguar’s cheaper models.
Finally, Jaguar says that it intends to increase the amount of recycled aluminium in its XJ and XK models from 50 to 75 percent by 2011, as part of the REAL (REcycled ALuminium) project. Interestingly the maker says that move will drive down costs to the extent that it can switch to using aluminium for its future entry-level models, which could include the XE roadster and next-gen XF.