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Land Rover launches plug-in Evoque and Discovery Sport

Land Rover has shown off the plug-in hybrid versions of the Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Discovery Sport for the first time.

New 1.5 three-cylinder engine

The two cars are the first models to use Land Rover's new Premium Transverse Architecture, which allows them to use plug-in technology for the first time. The hybrid system combines a 200hp turbocharged three-cylinder 1.5-litre petrol engine (effectively one of the Ingenium four-cylinder engines with a pot lopped off the end - this three-cylinder is 37kg lighter than the four-cylinder engine) with a 109hp electric motor fed from a 15kWh battery stack, tucked under the rear seats.

The combined power output of both cars is 309hp, with 540Nm of torque. That's good enough to get the Evoque from 0-100km/h in 6.1 seconds and the Discovery Sport in 6.6 seconds. More importantly, claimed fuel economy for the Evoque is 1.4 litres per 100km (201mpg) with emissions of just 32g/km, while the slightly larger, heavier, Discovery Sport scores 1.6 litres per 100km (175mpg) and 36g/km of CO2. Both cars can travel for more than 60km on a fully-charged battery - 66km for the Evoque and 62km for the Discovery, both capable of speeds of up to 135km/h on battery power alone.

That means that both cars will qualify for the full range of plug-in hybrid grants from the Irish government - a €2,500 of Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) and a €5,000 grant from the SEAI.

Electric-drive rear axle

The PHEV technology marks a major change in Land Rover's four-wheel drive technology. For the first time on a four-wheel drive Land Rover model, there's no transfer box, and no propshaft going to the rear wheels. Instead, the rear of the car uses Electric Rear Axle Drive (ERAD) tech. The electric motor drives the rear wheels at speeds of up to 135km/h, after which it's decoupled to reduce transmission drag and save even more fuel.

There's also a new brake-by-wire system which maximises brake energy recuperation, and an on-board 7kW charging system for topping up the battery. Both cars can rapid-charge from 0-80 per cent in 30 minutes. From a domestic socket, charging takes six hours and 42 minutes, while from a 7kW home charger box, it takes one hour and 24 minutes to reach 80 per cent.

When running in hybrid mode, the vehicle's electronics use Predictive Energy Optimisation (PEO) tech, which combines inputs from the steering, throttle, and brake as well as localised GPS data and the sat-nav destination to best juggle the mixture of petrol and battery power.

Irish prices in due course

The 1.5 engine drives the front wheels through an updated eight-speed automatic transmission. Irish prices are not yet set, but will be worked out in due course.

Nick Rogers, Jaguar Land Rover Executive Director of Product Engineering said: "Designed, engineered and manufactured in-house, the modular, scaleable and flexible architecture of our Ingenium family has allowed us to create a pioneering, three-cylinder plug-in hybrid system, giving our customers more choice than ever before. The 200hp engine, combined with an 80kW electric motor on the rear axle, gives fantastic all-wheel drive capability and the perfect blend of performance, depending on your driving style. Efficient electrification, downsizing and lightweighting also enables incredibly low CO2 of just 32g/km on the Evoque and 36g/km on the Discovery Sport. Additionally, both vehicles have an awesome impressive all-electric, zero tailpipe emission range of 66km and 62km, respectively. Thanks to the dedication and hard work of our Jaguar Land Rover family, our latest plug-in hybrid offers the same awesome capability and composure with all-electric driving and stunning efficiency, both on- and off-road."