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Land Rover goes e friendly....

Guest MJG

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Long-term, it may do. Hybrids are seen as an 'intermediate' technology, being both more fuel efficient than pure fuel engines, plus increasing demand for the kind of components [electricals] that'll be a bridge to HFC technology, as seen in the £20 per litre of unleaded 2030's [or 2010's if America attacks Iran]

It's nice to see that finally the technology the US Federal Government has subsidized, is appearing in Europe, who bizarrely have more need of it in view of higher consumer fuel prices.

When it'll be in the shops, at what price, is a different matter though :rolleyes:

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I think a benefit we haven't appreciated fully yet is the benefits to performance and traction that electric drives can give. By using wheel or differential motors, turning the wheel sensitively and appropriately in the first place (instead of sending power through diffs then braking the wheel to control slip) the system will be able to 'feel' the grip peeling away, on individual wheels at any speed.

The hybrid drive will not give a drastic reduction in fuel consumption yet - there's still a weight penalty and, certainly from our buses, it's hard to measure the battery state-of-charge so the constructors tend to err on the side of caution and dump most of the regen energy to save boiling the batteries. As battery technology improves (and it will, with the commercial factors driving the change) the hybrid will improve and improve. This is borne out in practice too; a Prius will manage 40-50mpg if driven sensibly and a good turbodiesel will match this. The difference is in the exhaust aftertreatment but the diesel is running constantly; the Prius engine spends time switching on and off and needs very close-coupled catalysts to light quickly, so the reality isn't as promising as the steady-state results suggest.

Fuel cells have been ten years away for the last twenty years or so - the infrastructure problem for refuelling will hamper their development until there's a step change in demand or supply, I guess.

I drove an interesting prototype two years ago, a hybrid bus with a 30kW (40hp) gas turbine generating pack. There was virtually no particulate emission because combustion is continuous, and 40hp was enough because it only has to meet the average demand; the electric motor was 45kW (60hp) and, while smaller than the 100kW (130hp) diesel engine it replaced, the torque characteristics were sufficient to spin wheels in the dry (and motivate the manufacturer to limit the motor below 15mph!)

Their latest hybrid is 'milder', with a 1.9 litre 60kW turbodiesel engine/generator and a 120kW motor, giving better backup performance for climbing hills etc when the battery capacity is insufficient.

Jet powered LandRover, anyone?

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