Sponsored: How the Range Rover PHEV redefines the SUV
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If you were waiting until the right kind of premium SUV came along before going electric, Range Rover’s new hybrid PHEV should spur you into action.
The Range Rover P400e (one of two new plug-in hybrid Range Rovers in the market, the other the slightly smaller Sport) looks and acts like a super-luxury SUV while adding the environmental and fuel saving advantages of an electric vehicle.
That means guilt-free motoring in style without any “where’s the next charging station?” range anxiety.
PHEVs – or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, meaning they also have a conventional combustion engine – are forecast to swell from just 3 per cent of global market share at present to 23 per cent, or more than 25 million vehicles, by 2025.
The future is clearly electric and Jaguar Land Rover has stated that all of their new vehicles will be offered with an electrified/electric powertrain from 2020. And if the P400e is anything to go by they’re off to a great start.
It’s a big car with a small carbon footprint that offers driving comfort, power, cutting-edge design and all the creature comforts the brand is known for while adding a swathe of eco-efficiencies including zero carbon emissions if driven in full EV mode.
Thanks to a large 13.1kW battery tucked away in an aluminium case in the cargo hold, the car can run up to 51km in pure EV mode with no nasties coming out of the tailpipe – and you’ll use very little fuel if your most frequent trips are short (and remember the average daily commute for most Kiwis is around 30km a day).
You can charge the car overnight using the supplied cable plugged into a domestic outlet (charging time is just over two-and-a-half hours using a dedicated wall charger or charging station). The charging port has been conveniently integrated into the front grille enabling easy access – we ran the cable from the car to a power point in the garage. You can also take advantage of timed charging where you specify when the car charges to take advantage of off-peak electricity charges.
But the beauty of the P400e PHEV is that unlike straight EV vehicles you won’t have to compromise your lifestyle or driving behaviour.
You choose whether to go full EV mode or stick to the default setting – a mix of petrol and electric for long trips (which still delivers as little as 64g/100km CO2 emissions).
The electric motor and the 2 litre 300PS Si4 Ingenium petrol engine combined is a powerhouse, sending up to 398 horsepower through its standard eight-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive system. Better still, the car does the thinking for you – switching seamlessly between EV and petrol mode if it senses the battery running out and you’ll hardly notice when the petrol engine kicks in.
But if you do want to check how it’s all working under the hood the instrument panel’s Interactive Driver Display communicates real-time data about how the electric motor is working alongside the conventional combustion engine.
This is a car that loves big open spaces – delivering a super-smooth ride on the open highway, with plenty of power in reserve to pass slow traffic even on steep inclines; also surprising is how well it manoeuvres, handling well on Northland's tight Brynderwyn Hills.
But what is the P400e like off road? Short answer – just as good as a conventional Range Rover; indeed the additional torque provided by the electric motor at low speed gives the vehicle an advantage in a variety of off-road situations.
Another of the many surprises with this car is how quiet it runs in full EV mode: according to Range Rover this is its quietest vehicle yet.
That silence and the high seating position create a sense of supreme, yet understated luxury as soon as you enter the cabin.
Before you is a leather lined dashboard, an infotainment centre including two touchscreens which feature a navigation screen that can be manipulated to find a location.
The plush executive-class seats can be adjusted up to 24 ways and if you need a little relaxation therapy as you ride they even have a massage option. Even the steering wheel can be heated for driving comfort.
The result is a winning blend of refined design and forward-thinking, enviro-friendly tech that never compromises performance. Check out the Land Rover range, either online or in dealer www.landrover.co.nz
RANGE ROVER P400E PHEV
• PHEVs give motorists the best of both petrol-powered and electric vehicles
• The P400e features Range Rover’s most innovative powertrain yet
• Zero emissions in electric vehicle mode
• No compromise on power – it can go from 0-100km/h in 6.7 seconds.
• Easy charging thanks to a port in the front grille.