Thursday, October 31, 2013

Is Jaguar Land Rover planning an electric Evoque?

Jaguar Land Rover announced it will be investing into 'Advanced Powertrain Research Project' known as Evoque_e, sparking rumours of an electric version of its Evoque compact SUV.
The manufacturer will invest £16.3 million into the project, which has been set up to develop new battery and hybrid technologies. British specialist powertrain and vehicle engineering company Zytek is said to be collaborating with Jaguar Land Rover along with a consortium of 11 other partners.
The two-year project will be used to, "design, develop and build three research vehicles showcasing the state-of-the-art, next-generation powertrain concepts for mild hybrid electric vehicle, a plug-in hybrid and a full battery electric vehicle".
Zytek's will utilise its knowledge of electric and hybrid systems, in particular the KERS (kinetic energy recovery system) found on current Formula One cars. The two companies previously worked together on the Jaguar XJ_e prototype.
“The aim of the project is to develop technology platforms which are configurable and compatible within the architecture of an existing production vehicle," Jaguar Land Rover director Peter Richings explained.
“The research teams will look at how the speed of the electric motor can be increased, to reduce its size, weight and cost while enhancing performance and durability. We will also look at the use of alternative materials to reduce the use of rare earth materials."
“The outcome of the Evoque_e project will be new technologies with the potential for high volume production that are capable of delivering benchmark performance in terms of cost, weight and sustainable use of materials," he added.
Jaguar Land Rover has been experimenting with hybrid and electric versions of its models for some time. Back in 2012 it unveiled a prototype Range Rover Hybrid and then in February of this year an all-electric Defender EV.
It even took the Range Rover Hybrid on a 10,500-mile trek from Coventry to Mumbai to test it out ahead of production, which will begin in January 2014.
Although the project name of Evoque-e suggests an electric Evoque, neither company has confirmed or denied whether the model is on the cards. We're guessing the answer will hinge on how well the Range Rover Hybrid performs at retail.