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Range Rover plugs into electric car movement

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.

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Two-thirds of adults ready for cars that drive themselves

The latest Looking Further with Ford Trends Report reveals that behaviour is changing across key areas of our lives

Self-driving cars are a hot topic today, but if you had to choose, would you rather your children ride in an autonomous vehicle or drive with a stranger? You may be surprised to learn that 67 per cent of adults globally would opt for the self-driving car.

That insight is one of many revealed in the 2019 Looking Further with Ford Trend Report, released last week. The report takes a deep look into the drivers of behavioural change, specifically uncovering the dynamic relationships consumers have with the shifting landscape of technology.

Change is not always easy, particularly when it is driven by forces beyond our control. In a global survey of 14 countries, Ford’s research revealed that 87 per cent of adults believe technology is the biggest driver of change. And while 79 per cent of adults maintain that technology is a force for good, there are large segments of the population that have significant concerns. Some are afraid of artificial intelligence (AI). Others fear the impact of technology on our emotional wellbeing.

“Individually and collectively, these behavioural changes can take us from feeling helpless to feeling empowered, and unleash a world of wonder, hope and progress,” says Kuda Takura, smart mobility specialist at Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa. “At Ford we are deeply focused on human-centric design and are committed to finding mobility solutions that help improve the lives of consumers and their communities. In the context of change, we have to protect what we consider most valuable – having a trusted relationship with our customers. So, we are always deliberate and thoughtful about how we navigate change.”

Key insights from Ford’s 7th annual Trends Report:

Almost half of people around the world believe that fear drives change
Seven in 10 say that they are energised by change
87 per cent agree that technology is the biggest driver of today’s change
Eight in 10 citizens believe that technology is a force for good
45 per cent of adults globally report that they envy people who can disconnect from their devices
Seven out of 10 consumers agree that we should have a mandatory time-out from our devices

Click here to read more about the seven trends for 2019.

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At last, cars talk to traffic lights to catch ‘green wave’

By ANDRE HAINZLMAIER, head of development of apps, connected services and smart city at Audi.

Stop-and-go traffic in cities is annoying. By contrast, we are pleased when we have a “green wave” – but we catch them far too seldom, unfortunately. With the Traffic Light Information function, drivers are more in control. They drive more efficiently and are more relaxed because they know 250 meters ahead of a traffic light whether they will catch it on green. In the future, anonymized data from our cars can help to switch traffic lights in cities to better phases and to optimise the traffic flow.

In the USA, Audi customers have been using the “Time-to-Green” function for two years: if the driver will reach the lights on red, a countdown in the Audi virtual cockpit or head-up display counts the seconds to the next green phase. This service is now available at more than 5,000 intersections in the USA, for example in cities like Denver, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Portland and Washington D.C. In the US capital alone, about 1,000 intersections are linked to the Traffic Light Information function.

Since February, Audi has offered a further function in North America. The purpose of this is especially to enable driving on the “green wave”. “Green Light Optimized Speed Advisory” (GLOSA) shows to the driver in the ideal speed for reaching the next traffic light on green.

Both Time-to-Green and GLOSA will be activated for the start of operation in Ingolstadt in selected Audi models. These include all Audi e-tron models and the A4, A6, A7, A8, Q3, Q7 and Q8 to be produced from mid-July (“model year 2020”). The prerequisite is the “Audi connect Navigation & Infotainment” package and the optional “camera-based traffic sign recognition”.

Why is this function becoming available in Europe two years later than in the USA? 

The challenges for the serial introduction of the service are much greater here than, for example, in the USA, where urban traffic light systems were planned over a large area and uniformly. In Europe, by contrast, the traffic infrastructure has developed more locally and decentrally – with a great variety of traffic technology. How quickly other cities are connected to this technology depends above all on whether data standards and interfaces get established and cities digitalise their traffic lights.

On this project, Audi is working with Traffic Technology Services (TTS). TTS prepares the raw data from city traffic management centres and transmits them to the Audi servers. From here, the information reaches the car via a fast Internet connection.

Audi is working to offer Traffic Light Information in further cities in Germany, Europe, Canada and the USA in the coming years. In the large east Chinese city of Wuxi, Audi and partners are testing networks between cars and traffic light systems in the context of a development project.

In future, Audi customers may be able to benefit from additional functions, for example when “green waves” are incorporated into the ideal route planning. It is also conceivable that Audi e-tron models, when cruising up to a red traffic light, will make increased used of braking energy in order to charge their batteries. Coupled with predictive adaptive cruise control (pACC), the cars could even brake automatically at red lights.

In the long term, urban traffic will benefit. When cars send anonymised data to the city, for example, traffic signals could operate more flexibly. Every driver knows the following situation: in the evening you wait at a red light – while no other car is to be seen far and wide. Networked traffic lights would then react according to demand. Drivers of other automotive brands will also profit from the development work that Audi is carrying out with Traffic Light Information – good news for cities, which are dependent on the anonymised data of large fleets to achieve the most efficient traffic management.

In future, V2I technologies like Traffic Light Information will facilitate automated driving. 

A city is one of the most complex environments for an autonomous car. Nevertheless, the vehicle has to be able to handle the situation, even in rain and snow. Data exchange with the traffic infrastructure can be highly relevant here. 

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