Sunday, October 27, 2013

JLR announces £16.3m Evoque_e research project

Jaguar Land Rover has announced it will invest £16.3 million into an ‘Advanced Powertrain Research Project’ – which could lead to an electric Evoque_e version of its small SUV.
Jaguar Land Rover will work in conjunction with British technology company and race car manufacturer Zytek Automotive to develop new hybrid and battery-electric vehicle technology.
On Bing: see pictures of the Range Rover Evoque
Although the collaborative research project has been named ‘Evoque_e’, neither organisation has yet confirmed if an alternatively-fuelled Evoque off-roader is in the pipeline.
However, with the Range Rover Hybrid (which MSN Cars recently drove on the Silk Trail expedition) and the Range Rover Sport Hybrid going on sale soon, the firm is serious about the electrification of its SUVs.
The two-year venture is backed by the government’s Technology Strategy Board, with Jaguar Land Rover contributing £4 million worth of funding to the scheme.
The British vehicle manufacturer is the lead partner of 12 in the consortium, featuring eight from industry and three universities.
October 2013 marked the start of the Evoque_e programme, an initiative set up to “design, develop and build three research vehicles showcasing state-of-the-art, next-generation powertrain concepts for a mild hybrid electric vehicle, a plug-in hybrid and a full battery electric vehicle.”
So we could see many more hybrid Range Rovers in the future, including a full-on Range Rover EV?
Jaguar Land Rover director hybrids and electrification, Peter Richings elaborates:
“The aim of the project is to develop technology platforms which are configurable and compatible within the architecture of an existing production vehicle.
“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.”
JLR’s partner, Zytek Automotive, has plenty of experience in the hybrid and electric powertrain sector, supplying Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems to many race teams across the world.
It’s not the first time Jaguar Land Rover and Zytek have worked together either. The pair of companies previously teamed up on the Jaguar XJ_e prototype, with Zytek overseeing development of crucial parts in that car’s electric drivetrain.