The 53-day journey, described by Land Rover as a ‘final development test drive’, is being used to demonstrate the capabilities of the new hybrid technology. The prototype Range Rovers left Solihull on August 22, and are travelling overland through Europe, Russia and Asia to the home of Land Rover’s parent company TATA in Mumbai, India.
The team paused in Berlin on Monday 26 after completing 833 miles (1,340km) of the route. Since Wednesday 28 the team has been journeying towards Cracow (Poland) and Odessa (Ukraine). From there, eight further stages lie ahead, before the team’s scheduled arrival in Mumbai on October 15.
Expedition Leader, Dougie Dale said: ‘We are delighted with progress so far, but the European leg is the easy part with good road networks – this has allowed us to use the Hybrid system to great effect, predominantly in urban areas. As the expedition heads towards Eastern Europe and beyond over the next week, we expect the terrain to toughen and we will really start to use the Range Rover Hybrid’s uncompromised capability.’
John Edwards, Land Rover’s former Global Brand Director, looked forward to the challenges ahead: ‘A stunning combination of mountain passes, arid desert, high altitude, chaotic city streets, heat, humidity and wilderness will provide the perfect testing ground for our first hybrid. The Silk Trail 2013 expedition expresses Land Rover’s commitment to its vehicles as well as to the environment.’
The new hybrid powertrain combines Land Rover’s 3-litre SDV6 turbo diesel engine with a 35kW electric motor integrated with an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission. The Range Rover Hybrid and Range Rover Sport Hybrid will go on sale across the UK on September 10, with the first deliveries being made in early 2014.
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