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Jaguar Land Rover expands plug-in hybrid SUV range

LONDON -- Jaguar Land Rover is expanding its plug-in hybrid offeringsto include its two best-selling SUVs, the Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Discovery, as it works to reduce its CO2 emissions footprint.

The availability of the two models will double JLR's current range of plug-in hybrids, which is currently limited to the Range Rover P400e and Range Rover Sport P400e full-size SUV.

Land Rover sells no full-electric vehicle, but JLR's emissions are being offset by the electric Jaguar I-Pace.

JLR, to meet European targets, has to lower CO2 fleet emissions to 156 grams per km by 2021, measured on the WLTP test cycle. In 2017, the company's European fleet average was 153g/km based on the less tough NEDC test cycle, according to company figures.

The compact Range Rover Evoque P300e plug-in hybrid has a CO2 emissions figure of 32g/km while the midsize Discovery Sport P300e plug-in hybrid produces 36g/km.

The Evoque can travel 41 miles (66 km) on electric power only while the Discovery Sport has a 38-mile electric range.

The two models will be offered with a gasoline-electric hybrid drivetrain based around JLR's new 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine

Power from the 107-hp electric motor combines with the 197-hp gasoline engine and allows the Evoque to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph (97 kph) in 6.1 seconds, while the Discovery Sport takes 6.2 seconds. The rear-mounted electric motor drives the rear axle to give the models all-wheel-drive capability.

Land Rover said the new three-cylinder engine is 37 kg lighter than the four-cylinder Ingenium unit on which it's based, helping to offset the weight of the battery. The company did not disclose the cell supplier. They are produced by Samsung, according to U.K. press reports.

The SUVs will go on sale by the end of the year. The Evoque P300e starts at 43,850 pounds (49,813 euros, $54,125) in the UK while the Discovery Sport P300e costs from 45,370 pounds.

Plug-in SUV offerings

The premium compact and midsize SUV and crossover segments now offer some of the widest choices of plug-in hybrids. The Mini Countryman plug-in hybrid was the second best-selling plug-in hybrid overall in Europe last year, according to figures from JATO Dynamics, with 14,795 sold.

BMW will this year expand its plug-in hybrid SUV/crossover offerings to include the X1 and X2 compact crossovers, while Daimler will increase its plug-in range to include the Mercedes GLA compact crossover, which will use a 1.3-liter gasoline engine and a 15.6 kilowatt-hour battery pack.

Also in the compact segment is Volvo's new XC40 Recharge, which uses a 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine as the basis for its electric drivetrain.

Competition for the larger Land Rover Discovery Sport includes the Mercedes GLC 300e, which uses a 13.5 kWh battery pack and a 2.0-liter engine. Another rival for the Discovery Sport is the Audi Q5 TFSI e.

Sales of plug-in hybrids are expected to grow as automakers use their low CO2 rating to bring down corporate average figures and European countries incentivize their use to improve air quality and reduce CO2 emissions.