1) There’s plenty of electric range
The Range Rover PHEV and Range Rover Sport PHEV use a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine mated to an eight-speed automatic with an integrated electric motor. The total system output is just shy of 400 hp. The PHEV’s 13.3 kWh battery pack is made by Samsung, wrapped in an aluminum case under the cargo hold and sized to allow a claimed 31 miles of electric-only range. Since average round-trip commute distances in metropolitan areas around the country are just shy of 27 miles, most owners will be able to drive to and from work on a single charge. Rover engineers say it’s a good balance between battery capacity and overall vehicle weight. And 31 miles should provide enough headroom for even longer commutes — if owners are able to charge at work.
The Range Rover PHEV and Range Rover Sport PHEV use a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine mated to an 8-speed automatic with an integrated electric motor.
2) You can “save” battery power until you need it
Engineers typically say the most efficient way to drive a hybrid is to let the complex systems onboard decide when to deploy the electric motor(s) and when to run the gas engine. But there could be times when you’d like to choose exactly when to drive the vehicle as an EV. And to do that, you could use the Range Rover’s “Save” function. Say you’re planning a weekend camping trip — you could decide to drive most of the trip using gas power. Then, as you head into the woods on a dirt road, you could elect to use that electric power to minimize noise and pollution — and make the other campers happy.
3) It’s the first 4X4 with electric drive in low range
If you save some of your electric range until you hit the trail, the Range Rover PHEV will allow off-roading on pure electric power in both grass/gravel/snow and mud/ruts modes. No other 4X4 is equipped to deliver this driving experience — and that’s very cool. Rest assured, the PHEV model still maintains the 35.4-inch water fording capability of the normal Range Rover. However, there’s a catch. The company doesn’t advise water fording in EV mode. That’s because in EV mode, with the engine off, a water fording will flood the exhaust system. And Land Rover found that the muddy deposits from repeated floodings will ruin the catalytic converter.
When owners prepare for a deep-water crossing, they typically raise the suspension. So, to protect the exhaust, Land Rover programmed the gas engine to turn on anytime the suspension is raised. But if you want that raised suspension and don’t plan on any water crossings, you can select EV mode once the suspension is up and run on pure battery power again.
Range Rover PHEV will allow off-roading on pure electric power in both Grass, Gravel Snow and Mud and Ruts modes.
4) The nav system can program the most fuel-efficient route
The upgraded next-generation infotainment system on the 2018 Range Rover and Range Rover Sport contains more information than ever before. And that includes elevation changes in the navigation system that allowed engineers to develop a feature called Predictive Energy Optimization. Plug in your destination and the system takes a look at the available routes, then figures out which one is the most efficient. The quickest route may be completely flat. But the system can use the gradient data to determine that the most efficient route might actually have a few hills. On the hilly route, the Rover can use pure electric torque to go up those grades because it knows the battery will have a chance to regenerate some of that power on the way down. And more time spent using electric propulsion means more fuel is saved.
The plug-in hybrid system hardware used on the Range Rover and the Range Rover Sport are nearly identical. But the engineers have tuned the systems differently.
5) The Range Rover PHEV and Range Rover Sport PHEV powertrains are tuned differently
The plug-in hybrid system hardware used on the Range Rover and the Range Rover Sport is nearly identical, but the engineers have tuned the systems differently. And that’s most noticeable, according to Land Rover, when the Range Rover Sport is in dynamic mode with the transmission in sport and the traction control turned off. That tells the vehicle you want it set up for optimum performance, according to Lynfel Owen, vehicle engineering senior manager. He says there’s a sweet spot in the battery state-of-charge for getting power in and out of the pack quickly. In this most aggressive vehicle setup, they use that window of charge to provide the maximum electric power when needed. And when the driver lifts off the throttle, say, for that tight downhill sweeper, the system can use heavy regenerative braking to top off the battery.