The vehicles will showcase next-generation powertrain concepts for a mild hybrid electric vehicle (MHEV), a Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) and a full Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV).
Named ‘Evoque_e’, the £16.3m collaboration is supported by the Technology Strategy Board (the UK’s innovation agency), with Jaguar Land Rover contributing £4m to the total cost.
‘The aim of the project is to develop technology platforms which are configurable and compatible within the architecture of an existing production vehicle,’ says Peter Richings, Jaguar Land Rover Director Hybrids and Electrification. ‘The modular technologies include single and multi-speed axle drives; modular battery packs and integrated power electronics, multi-machine, advanced control development and torque vectoring.
‘The research teams will look at how the speed of the electric motor can be increased, to reduce its size, weight and cost while enhancing performance and durability. We will also look at the use of alternative materials to both reduce the use of rare earth materials and for systems optimisation.’
The news comes a week before the order books open for the new generation of hybrid Range Rover Sports and Range Rovers, three of which are currently on expedition from Solihull to Mumbai on a final development test drive.
Meanwhile Land Rover’s Innovation Acceleration team are putting seven all-electric Defenders research vehicles through their paces on real-word tests (see the October issue of LRO for our verdict)
This isn’t the first time the Range Rover Evoque has been the focus of electrification research. In 2011 Land Rover donated an Evoque to the ‘e-vectoorc’ project, a consortium of eleven international partners in Belgium which spent three years collaborating over the production of an electric Evoque using separate electric motors for each of the front wheels.
‘With Evoque_e, we will build on previous Jaguar Land Rover technology demonstrators, said Dr Wolfgang Epple, Jaguar Land Rover Director Research and Technology, ‘and show clearly the breadth of our capability and commitment in advanced powertrain technology.’
Jaguar Land Rover is spending £2.75 billion in the year to March 2014 on product creation, cementing its position as Britain’s biggest investor in automotive research and development, and the biggest investor in manufacturing R&D.
Antony Harper, Jaguar Land Rover Head of Research, illustrated the project’s significance to the company and the UK economy, saying: ‘The development of our business and our continuing investment in R&D has also encouraged inward investment into the UK, with our suppliers creating and funding their own research projects in UK universities.’