Is this for the best?
Jaguar Land Rover is currently in a financial crisis and is seeking funding to dig its way out. Poor quality control at its Chinese production facility and various other factors are to blame. But the show must go on even as JLR's parent company embarks on an 18-month long financial rehabilitation plan. According to Autocar, starting later this year, all new Land Rovers will permanently drop diesel in favor of hybrid or plug-in hybrid drivetrains.
Earlier this month, we learned the Range Rover Sport is losing its iconic supercharged V6 in favor of a 3.0-liter twin-turbo mild hybrid inline-six. This hybridization will continue for all models as Land Rover attempts to shift from pure internal combustion as well.
The next-generation Range Rover, due in 2021, will be a plug-in hybrid that will combine the straight-six with twin electric motors – one at the front axle and another at the rear. Both the next Range Rover and the 2020 Range Rover Sport will have a very similar, though not identical, setup. Expect output to be anywhere from 300 hp to 400 hp for the straight-six alone. There will even be a kinetic energy storage system that will power the engine's electric supercharger. A pure electric Range Rover will also happen, but we don't know when it'll launch.
The all-electric Road Rover will also arrive at some point, but it'll be a little less SUV and more crossover-like. Even the reborn Defender, due to be unveiled in September, will be sold as a mild-hybrid or plug-in hybrid. Land Rover is reportedly fully aware of concerns that the Defender's electrically powered rear axle will hinder off-road performance but rest assured, there's no reason to worry.
In fact, off-road capabilities will improve because the electric motor provides instant torque and it's also more controllable than today's rear axle. An all-electric Defender has not been confirmed, but nor has it been denied. As for the new Evoque, it's already offered with a mild-hybrid setup and next year the plug-in hybrid variant is due.
The Discovery Sport will be completely reinvented in the near future as well. Once Land Rover's best-seller, it's taken a hit recently from fresh competition. Not only will the new model receive the same electrification treatment as the rest of the lineup, but it'll become more luxurious as well. Like we said, big changes are about to happen at Land Rover. All that's left is to survive the financial crisis and that's no easy matter.