Updates revealed across the Range Rover Sport line-up are headlined with the new PHEV, combining electric and petrol power for sustainable performance
Jaguar Land Rover has announced that the new Range Rover Sport will be transformed by technology, with a plug-in hybrid electric powertrain delivering efficiency, capability and performance.
The reveal follows the news that, from 2020, all new Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles will be electrified and marks the next step on the Great British company’s electrification journey.
Jaguar Land Rover provided the following information:
In addition to efficient PHEV options, every Range Rover Sport has an enhanced design and new consumer technology. The flagship SVR now delivers 423kW, making it the fastest Range Rover to date. This is an SUV driven to another level of dynamic capability, with breadth of appeal and desirability like no other.
Gerry McGovern, Chief Design Officer, Land Rover said: “When we started the design process with this new Range Rover Sport, it was important that we maintained its sporting prowess while evolving the exterior design. The addition of design-enabled technologies, such as our new infotainment system and the LED headlights demonstrate our drive towards ever greater desirability for the customer.”
The British-designed, engineered and built Range Rover Sport has sold more than 732,000 since it was introduced in 2004. Its unrivalled mix of refinement and exhilarating performance has starred on TV and in movies around the world.
The latest Range Rover Sport is Jaguar Land Rover’s first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. Badged P400e, the new model provides sustainable performance by combining a 221kW 2.0-litre four-cylinder Ingenium petrol engine with an 85kW electric motor. The 297kW total available power output* – available through the permanent four-wheel drive system – delivers 0-100km/h in only 6.7 seconds and a maximum speed of 220km/h. With an impressive 640Nm of torque, the new powertrain mixes dynamic and sustainable performance with traditional Land Rover capability, comfort and refinement.
Thanks to its electrified powertrain, Range Rover Sport P400e emits only 64g/km on the NEDC combined cycle and offers an all-electric range of up to 51km without the petrol engine running. For the first, time Land Rover customers can experience zero-emission, near-silent off-road luxury with uncompromised all-terrain capability as well as entry into areas with restrictions for air quality, including most congestion charging zones.
Drivers can select from two driving modes to best suit their needs:
* Parallel Hybrid mode (the default driving mode) – combines petrol and electric drive. The driver can optimise battery charge or fuel economy by utilising one of two charge management functions:
* SAVE function – prevents the battery charge dropping below a pre-selected level.
Predictive Energy Optimisation (PEO) function – entering a destination in the navigation system enables the feature, which utilises in built GPS altitude data for the selected route, to intelligently combine the electric motor and petrol engine to maximise fuel economy.
EV (Electric Vehicle) mode – enables the vehicle to run solely on the electric motor using the energy stored in the battery, the ideal solution for quiet, zero emission journeys.
Land Rover’s Terrain Response 2 technology has a unique calibration to intelligently and precisely distribute torque from the electric motor, which has no creep speed and maximum torque from zero rpm, to all four wheels. This gives greater control during low-speed off-road manoeuvres, reaffirming Range Rover Sport’s outstanding breadth of capability.
Nick Collins, Vehicle Line Director, Jaguar Land Rover said: “The new Range Rover Sport strikes a compelling balance between dynamic capability, passenger comfort and efficiency. The introduction of our advanced plug-in hybrid powertrain is a watershed moment in the history of our performance SUV.”
The motor is powered by a 13.1kWh high-voltage lithium-ion battery. Land Rover engineers delivered a set-up that maximises interior space and provides ideal weight distribution. The 2.0-litre Ingenium petrol engine is longitudinally mounted, with the 85kW electric motor housed in the ZF automatic eight-speed transmission at the centre of the vehicle alongside the 7kW on-board charger. The access point for the cable is at the front of the vehicle, while the prismatic cell lithium-ion battery is mounted at the rear beneath the boot floor.
When rapid charging, a full charge can be achieved in as little as 2 hours 45 minutes at home using a dedicated 32 amp wall box. The battery can be fully charged in 7 hours 30 minutes using the 10 amp home charging cable supplied as standard.
With significant changes under the skin, the exterior has evolved to harmonise and modernise the design, making the Range Rover Sport look more dynamic without changing its character.
At the front, the striking new design is enabled by intelligent Pixel-laser LED headlights, sitting alongside a redesigned grille. This is complemented by a new bumper with a more aggressive profile. The new PHEV derivative also includes access to the 7kW on-board charger hidden behind the Land Rover badge on the right of the grille.
Inside the cabin the new Touch Pro Duo infotainment system, called ‘Blade’ by its developers, is the most advanced ever created by Jaguar Land Rover and is truly state-of-the-art. Two high-definition 10-inch touchscreens form the centrepiece of the minimalist cabin, blending a futuristic, elegant feel with an intuitive, engaging interface and unrivalled functionality.
In-car connectivity is enhanced with up to 14 power points, including a domestic plug socket to keep laptops and other devices topped up. The introduction of the Jaguar Land Rover Activity Key also brings new levels of convenience to the Range Rover Sport, allowing customers to lock and unlock their vehicle without the need to carry a key fob – ideal for outdoor pursuits.
The new Range Rover Sport has been enhanced with further technologies for greater comfort and convenience:
* Gesture sunblind: opened and closed by an advanced gesture control system that senses an occupant’s hand movement. All it takes to open the blind is a rearward swipe in front of the rear-view mirror, and forwards to close
* Advanced Tow Assist: takes care of the difficult counter-steering required to position trailers accurately when reversing. The driver can simply guide the trailer into the desired space using the rotary controller for the Terrain Response 2 system
* Pixel-laser LED headlights: advanced technology provides greater luminance and intelligently blanks sections of LEDs to avoid dazzling oncoming drivers
* Those looking for the ultimate performance SUV will relish the potent new SVR derivative, which takes the Range Rover Sport into new territory. Power is up to 423kW, delivering the 0-100km/h sprint in 4.5 seconds, while bold design revisions and the increased use of carbon fibre construction make the new SVR more dramatic, faster and more agile than before.
The new Range Rover Sport is headed to South Africa. A launch date and pricing will be made available at a future date.
Mini embraces innovation
Mini has launched its 2018 models with customisable interior features and major technology upgrades, writes BRYAN TURNER.
Mini has never been known as a high-tech car, due to its small form factor being the differentiator. But now the well-known brand has received a long-awaited strategy overhaul, bringing with it a new technology focus. Even the Mini logo underwent a subtle redesign, opting to use negative space to show the gaps in the wings of the logo instead of a raised metal look. This forms part of the new “MINImalism” strategy.
Mini’s strategy for now and the foreseeable future is to increase automation in its cars.
Connected Drive, pioneered by BMW, allows for an intelligent connection between the car and smartphone. This enables one to check the fuel level, heat the interior and start the onboard navigation, all without having to be near the car, from a smartphone. When one is in the car, calendar events with location data can trigger the onboard navigation to calculate ETAs and time in traffic, offset on real-time data collected through the smartphone’s Internet connection.
We tested it with both the Mini Connected Drive and BMW Connected Drive apps, and both interfaced well with the car. Surprisingly, the BMW Connected Drive app seemed to interface slightly better with the Mini than the Mini Connected Drive app.
While the app is recommended, it’s not required, because the car integrates excellently with Bluetooth-enabled devices. iPhone users are in luck, because the entertainment system includes CarPlay, Apple’s simplified connected car interface software. This allows for music, maps and other CarPlay-enabled apps to be shown directly on the car’s touchscreen ,as they do on the iPhone, save some text-sizing adjustments.
Pairing the iPhone is as easy as holding down a button on the steering wheel and tapping the car when it appears in the built-in CarPlay menu on the iPhone. No app download is required.
MINImalism runs through the car’s technology. The Mini’s 6.5-inch touch screen control panel shows an image of the car with layman’s terms of what the internal systems are doing, keeping to minimalist design patterns. The new Mini Coopers come standard with a Harman/Kardon 12-speaker setup, which features in the Mini Connected Drive.
The steering wheel is redesigned, now featuring more buttons to help keep one’s hands on the wheel. The left side of the wheel features cruise control buttons, while volume and call controls are located on the right side. This bears a strong resemblance to the BMW configuration, featuring similarly placed steering controls.
With all the Mini’s customisations, the company invites consumers to take it further with optional extra.s Mini Yours Customised (yours-customised.mini) is a web platform where one can choose custom side scuttles, custom cockpit facia, customised LED door stills and even a customised door projection light. These parts are either 3D-printed or laser-cut, depending on the material, to the specification outlined on the web app.
As optional extras, one can opt for a wireless charger in the armrest compartment and secondary front USB port for both the driver and front passenger, to charge their phones simultaneously. A SIM card connecting to the 4G/LTE network can be fitted directly into the car, allowing for use of Mini Teleservices and Intelligent Emergency Calling, with automatic vehicle location reporting. The Mini Find Mate is an extra service that uses wireless tags to track items from the car’s onboard system or from the Mini Connected Drive app. This tag can be attached to frequently misplaced items or travel items, like backpacks, suitcases and briefcases.
Future Minis are expected to be electric by 2019 in Europe and are expected to arrive in South Africa in mid-2020. This seems realistic, considering that the BMW i3 forms part of the same group.
Overall, the Mini range has received a subtle yet effective cosmetic and technology overhaul, delivering loads of functionality in a minimalist package.
Why SA needs connected taxis
Traffic across South Africa continues to be a headache and digital acceleration may just be the answer in mitigating daily congestion, says CLAYTON NAIDOO, General Manager, Sub-Saharan Africa, Cisco.
Creating smart cities and digital workplaces means connecting infrastructure and digitizing transport systems, particularly in the taxi industry. Can you imagine what South Africa roads would looks like in 10-years-time, if taxis were connected?
According to Statistics SA’s 2013 Household Survey, taxi operators transport over 15 million commuters daily. Around 200,000 minibus taxis, across 2 600 taxi ranks, provide the main mode of transport for 50% of SA’s population earning less than R3 000 per month.
The impact of the taxi industry on the daily lives of South Africans is huge, research by Transaction Capital, a financial services provider in the taxi industry revealed. An estimated 70% of people who attend educational institutions make use of taxis, 69% of all South African households use taxis in their transport mix, and a staggering 68% of all public transport trips to work are in taxis. Plus, minibus taxis reach remote places other forms of public transport don’t – the average South African lives within a 5-minute walk of a minibus taxi.
Sadly, the industry is still faced with challenges when it comes to road congestion, accidents and safety, and with drivers often forced by financial needs to work long hours. But a future where taxis can operate efficiently and profitably, while improving safety and providing a more convenient customer and employee experience, is possible. But it requires a digital business transformation.
Our cities need to start connecting infrastructure and piloting these digital experiences now. Globally, there will be 380 million connected vehicles on the roads by 2020, but that is only half the battle. The first step toward making the frictionless commute a reality is for local governments to begin investing in technology architectures and physical infrastructure to accelerate connected transportation systems and create workplace innovation.
On the strategic side, transportation officials can begin by identifying best practice. It is best to first pinpoint a problem that is unique to a city or region. For example, a city with notorious traffic congestion might want to start integrating smart sensors on roadways to alert drivers and connected vehicles in real-time of potential hazards, and possibly prevent accidents before they happen.
How would that look in practice? Let’s take the example of Sipho Ngwenya, a fictional character, from Zola in Soweto, one of the 600 000 people employed in the industry.
He gets up at 4am everyday to get to the taxi rank where he parks his mini bus overnight. Sipho hopes to be one of the first drivers there to ensure he fills his taxi with commuters, who travel to the northern suburbs of Johannesburg for work and school.
The earlier he starts transporting people, the better chance he has of generating the daily “rental fee” he pays his boss – the owner of the minibus. If Sipho is even 10 minutes late, the queue of people at the rank may have halved. If his taxi is the last one in the queue, it may not fill up, and he may need to drive around the block to find more commuters. The delay means longer hours for him, his conductor-cum-assistant (guardjie) will have to spend more time calculating and collecting fares, and it will increase his costs – he’ll spend more money on fuel.
Fast forward six-months later, when the Joburg metro area would have implemented the Cisco Connected Mass Transit technology solution to connect the taxi industry. Sipho’s alarm goes off at 4am. He grabs his phone and logs onto the Cisco platform before he jumps out of bed: the weather is clear but there’s been an accident overnight on his route to the rank – he’ll have to take a detour. He checks once again just as he leaves home, and sees that he has time to grab breakfast on his way.
He is the first driver to arrive at the rank that morning – stress-free and ready to start. The rest of the minibuses are stuck behind the accident. He loads commuters and manages to get all of them to their destinations 10 minutes early, by checking the best routes. Payments are no longer collected in person – there is now an easy mobile payment option that customers love, especially the young ones. And Sipho no longer needs to search for commuters – they stop his minibus on the road because it is marked as a ‘connected minibus’. This is a smart workplace.
These digital solutions are real and available to the SA taxi world. There are some caveats, though: Cisco’s international experience shows that these solutions are best implemented alongside awareness campaigns for commuters and government incentives to drive adoption, as well as ensuring the regulatory environment is conducive. Luckily, technology itself isn’t too much of a problem: the solutions work with existing IT systems local governments have installed.
Imagine South Africa in a decade. Now imagine a South Africa where traffic congestion is a thing of the past.