Land Rover launches Discovery Sport and Evoque plug-in hybrids

Available to order now, the plug-in hybrid variants are arguably as important as the new Defender in terms of sales, because they’re targeted at the lucrative fleet markets. With no electric Land Rover available yet, they will also have a huge impact on reducing the brand’s fleet average CO2 emissions, which must be done in order to avoid fines from the EU. Work on the powertrain began in 2016 and was done in parallel with the creation of the Premium Transverse Architecture (PTA), which made its debut last year in the new Evoque and heavily updated Discovery Sport. Both PHEV models, dubbed P300e, combine a new 197bhp turbocharged three-cylinder 1.5-litre Ingenium petrol engine with an eight-speed automatic gearbox and a 107bhp electric motor mounted on the rear axle. While the electric rear axle gives four-wheel drive, Land Rover claims class-leading range and efficiency figures. The Evoque P300e emits 32g/km of CO2, is capable of up to 201.8mpg and achieves an electric-only range of up to 41 miles, all on WLTP test cycles. The Discovery Sport, being larger and available with seven seats, officially emits 36g/km of CO2, while its economy falls to 175.5mpg and its electric-only range drops to 38 miles. The figures mean low company car tax for both, with the Evoque incurring a benefit-in-kind (BIK) rate of just 6% for 2020/2021. The transmission was newly developed for the models by Aisin, rather than Land Rover’s usual supplier, ZF. “We can still offer a spare wheel, we haven’t reduced any space inside, the overhangs are the same and ground clearance is the same”. Production is still on pause at all Jaguar Land Rover plants, but deliveries of the new P300e models are expected to start in the third quarter of this year. Q&A: Chris Carey, PHEV vehicle engineering manager How big a job was integrating all the new components without compromising anything? Not just the mechanicals but also the software: the vehicle control systems that work in harmony with the front and rear axle are all new to us. When we launched the new platform in the Discovery Sport and Evoque, this was all ready.” Does switching to a three-cylinder engine harm refinement?