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Trio of Range Rover Hybrid prototypes completes trek from Solihull to Mumbai

Mon, 14 Oct 2013

A team of three Range Rover Hybrid prototypes has just completed a 53-day journey from Solihull, England to Mumbai, India. The route retraced the centuries-old Silk Trail, taking the team through 13 countries. The trucks and drivers experienced just about every type of terrain, as well as temperatures ranging from -10 degrees Celsius to 43 degrees Celsius, the latter translating to a very uncomfortable 109.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Range Rover Hybrid prototypes made their way through France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, and Russia, though it's arguably the latter part of the trip that presented the most serious challenges. And the team wasn't just sticking to known highways used by 18-wheeler trucks and the like. The expedition did have the honor of being the first foreign-registered cars to drive China's Xinjiang-Tibet highway, a snaking mountain pass that's more than 5,000 feet above sea level. The Land Rover team took the long way to Mumbai, not only going into Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and China, but also dipping into the mountains of Nepal.

The Range Rover Hybrid prototypes use 35kW electric motors in conjunction with their TD V6 3.0-liter turbo-diesel engines, returning around 36-37 mpg throughout the journey. The purpose of the trip was to fine-tune the calibration and transmission software in the hybrid prototypes, with the mechanical parts having already been proven in similar trials, and to see how the hybrid powertrain would perform under real life conditions. And there seemed to be no shortage of very real life conditions.

Land Rover
The Silk Trail now overlaps with some of the world's most treacherous roads.

To answer your next question: the three Range Rovers suffered 15 tire punctures among them throughout the whole journey, a number that many experienced expedition drivers will probably claim was on the light side.

"In developing the hybrid-powered Range Rover, our objective was to gain hybrid fuel economy and carbon emissions advantages without compromising the Range Rover's go-anywhere capabilities, its cabin space or its refinement. The success of this remarkable expedition clearly demonstrates we have achieved that," said Peter Richings, Jaguar Land Rover Hybrids and Electrification director.

The powertrain details and pricing on the production versions of the Range Rover Hybrids are yet to be announced, but if the team saw mid-30 mpg figures on this arduous trip, we'd expect trips to the mall to produce even better numbers.

By Jay Ramey