Land Rover begins electrification push with plug-in Range Rover Sport P400e

Land Rover’s electrification push starts with the Range Rover Sport P400e, its first-ever plug-in hybrid model. It stands out from its non-hybrid counterpart with a handful of model-specific visual tweaks, new technology features, and the cleanest powertrain ever fitted to a Range Rover.

Power comes from a turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine rated at 300 horsepower, and a compact electric motor programmed to deliver 116 hp. Getting the system’s total output isn’t as simple as adding up the two aforementioned figures; the turbo four and the motor don’t deliver peak power at the same time. It’s nonetheless rated at 400 hp and a generous 472 pound-feet of torque, which is enough for a 6.7-second sprint from zero to 60 mph.

A 13.1 kWh battery pack integrated below the trunk floor stores enough electricity to give the P400e up to 31 miles of range on electricity alone. That figure was obtained in the European testing cycle, which is infamously skewed toward electric and hybrid vehicles. Fuel economy figures haven’t been announced. A full charge takes between 2 hours and 45 minutes and  and 7-and-a-half hours depending on the type of charger it’s connected to.

The lithium-ion battery pack adds weight, but the four-cylinder engine is much lighter than the six- and eight-cylinder units that normally power the Range Rover Sport, so it should even out. Land Rover says it has developed a hybrid-specific Terrain Response 2 technology that precisely distributes the torque generated by the electric motor to the wheels that need it most in challenging off-road situations. Not only is this Range Rover cleaner, it should be better off the beaten path, too.

The hybrid Range Rover Sport also gets a tech infusion. The list of available equipment now includes gesture-controlled sun blinds, pixel-laser LED headlights, and a new infotainment system with two individual screens, a setup first seen on the brand-new Velar. Land Rover says 14 power points are scattered across the Sport’s cabin, including a domestic socket capable of keeping a laptop juiced up.

The 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Sport P400e will arrive in showrooms in the coming months. Look for a pricing announcement before then. The plug-in hybrid powertrain will make its way to other members of the JLR lineup, including the standard Range Rover and at least one of Jaguar’s luxury sedans. The British company is committed to launching only electrified cars after 2020.

What’s in a name?

The P400e nameplate may sound like a cocktail of letters and numbers borrowed from Tesla’s P100D cars and the Mercedes-Benz E400, but it’s not. It falls in line with the new naming system announced by JLR a couple of days ago. Moving forward, every member of the company’s lineup will wear a similar nameplate.

The first letter refers to the fuel type — P is for petrol and D is for diesel. The number corresponds to the engine’s output, while the e suffix hints at the electrified components under the sheet metal. P400e tells us it’s a gasoline-electric hybrid with 400 horsepower. A D220 would be a 220-horsepower turbodiesel, while a P300 would be a 300-horsepower gasoline engine without any kind of hybrid assistance.

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