JLR embraces electric hybrids
Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has shown three prototype vehicles which it hopes will spearhead the company’s move into the plug-in electric and full electric vehicle world.
The first is called the Concept e MHEV and is based on the Range Rover Evoque. It pairs a prototype 66 kW three-cylinder diesel engine to a 48V lithium-ion battery pack, and uses the diesel motor to drive the front wheels while the electric unit supplies power to the rear.
Next is the Concept e PHEV which is based on a Range Rover Sport and incorporates a similar set-up to the Concept e MHEV, but makes use of the additional space provided by larger platform.
Under the bonnet is a 220 kW petrol engine which is currently also not part of the traditional JLR engine line-up. It drives the front wheels, while a 150 kW electric motor powered by a 320V lithium-ion battery, located in the rear of the car, spins the rear wheels.
It does this with the standard Range Rover eight-speed automatic gearbox and doesn’t sacrifice four-wheel drive abilities. The electric motor in the rear also replaces the starter motor.
The last of the three concepts is actually a new platform, albeit one that is built uisng the existing JLR aluminium set-up. It uses a 70 kWh lithium battery powering an 85 kW electric motor on the front axle, as well as a 145 kW electric motor linked to the rear axle.
Designated the Concept E project, it’s at the core of all JLR’s electric motoring ambitions. The electric drive module, for example, is twice as light and twice as powerful as that of similar units and can be slotted into conventional saloons and SUVs between the engine and the transmission.
A breakthrough in brake recuperation has allowed JLR to use such a small battery in the Concept E Project because more energy can be returned to the batteries during braking. It also allows for torque vectoring and can be used to dial in an over or understeer handling bias.
JLR is looking at more than just the electric motors to reduce emissions and has been developing new materials and technology to reduce weight. One such piece of technology is infra-red reflective glass that will keep the car cooler as well as similar panels in the car to heat the cabin.
It has also been experimenting with a low CO2 footprint alternative to carbon fibre. Carbio mixes traditional carbon fibre with cashew nut oil resin and flax to create a material that is still 28 percent lighter than aluminium, but has better sound proofing qualities than carbon fibre.
It is unlikely that we will see any of these technologies in use before 2020, but it does paint a pretty bright picture for the future of JLR.