Land Rover cuts Defender’s CO2 with plug-in hybrid

LONDON — Land Rover has begun sales of a plug-in hybrid version of the Defender utility vehicle that dramatically reduces the car’s CO2 emissions.

The new P400e, which is a derivative of the long wheelbase 110 version, uses a drivetrain similar to that found in the Range Rover’s plug-in hybrids, which mates a 296-hp, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine with a 141-hp electric motor. The combined power is 398 hp.

A 19.2 kilowatt-hour battery gives an electric-only range of 43 km (27 miles), which helps reduce emissions to 76 grams per km as measured by the WLTP cycle. The next lowest emitting engine in the Defender’s range is the P200, 197-hp, 3.0-liter diesel with CO2 output of 199g/km.

The P400e starts at 64,800 pounds in the UK and 78,275 euros in Germany. Deliveries will begin next spring. No plug-in version of the short wheelbase 90 version is planned.

Land Rover sold 3,257 plug-on hybrid versions of the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport in Western Europe in the first seven months of the year, amounting to 3.8 percent of its sales, according to data from analyst Matthias Schmidt.

The figure lagged behind its premium rivals, including Volvo with a 27 percent plug-in hybrid share, BMW with a 9.6 percent share, Mercedes with a 6.7 percent share and Audi with a 4.8 percent share.

Land Rover recently began sales of plug-in hybrid versions of the smaller Range Rover Evoque and related Land Rover Discovery Sport, which use a 1.5-liter gasoline engine. Deliveries of those model begin later this year.

CO2 targets

The SUV maker’s parent, Jaguar Land Rover, has to hit a European target to lower its CO2 fleet emissions to 156g/km by 2021, measured on the WLTP test cycle.

In 2017, the company’s European fleet average was 153g/km based on the less stringent NEDC test cycle, according to company figures.

Plug-in hybrid versions of the Defender will also be launched in China “in the near future,” a spokesman said. However, the drivetrain will not be offered in the U.S. “There is currently no demand for this powertrain in this segment of the market in the U.S.” the spokesman added.

The Defender is built in JLR’s plant in Nitra, Slovakia.

As well as launching the plug-in hybrid, Land Rover has dropped the four-cylinder diesel engine in the Defender and replaced it with a six-cylinder inline diesel for its two entry models, the P200 and P250.

The new diesel conforms to the latest EU6-d regulations. The unit “offers an increase in torque with enhanced refinement, while also delivering lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions,” JLR said.

The Defender range consists of the three-door 90 variant, which is 4583mm long, and the five-door 110, which is 5018mm in length. The SUV’s model range starts at 42,920 pounds in the UK.

Land Rover also offers Hard Top commercial versions of both models, which have no rear seats.

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