Automotive

Published on October 16th, 2013 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez

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Range Rover Hybrids ‘Silk Trail 2013’ To India From UK

Land Rover wanted to demonstrate the capabilities of their first ever hybrid whilst maintaining their legendary off road abilities and so 3 Range Rover Hybrids set off from the UK on August 22nd 2013 to tackle an endurance marathon of a 9,950 mile (16,000km) drive along the ‘Silk Trail 2013’ to India. Departing from the home of Land Rover in Solihull, England, the trio of Range Rover Hybrid vehicles undertaking the epic trip travelled overland for more than seven weeks through Europe, Russia and Asia to Mumbai, India and finally arrived on October 15th 2013.

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“The ‘Silk Trail 2013’ 53 days expedition will cross 13 countries and tackle some of the world’s most challenging roads, passes and trails, including part of the ancient, 4,000 mile Silk Road which connected Asia with the Mediterranean.  This event is the latest in Land Rover’s proud history of going ‘above and beyond’ the normal to subject prototype vehicles to extreme testing prior to the launch of new models,” said John Edwards, Land Rover Global Brand Director.

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The Silk Trail expedition was divided into 10 stages and visited France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyztan, China, Nepal and India.  The Range Rover Hybrids were driven by teams of Land Rover development engineers and specially invited media from 10 countries in Europe and other nations along the route. While coping with the mixed terrains, in temperatures ranging from 17 to 43 degrees Centigrade, the vehicles demonstrated outstanding reliability and between them suffered just one cracked windscreen and four punctures. Unlike other hybrids, the Range Rover carries a full-size spare wheel and tyre.

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With its parallel 3.0-litre SDV6 diesel engine and 47bhp electric motor, the Range Rover Hybrid models returned impressive fuel economy for a vehicle so spacious and powerful and so heavily laden with the roof-rack mounted expedition equipment. Its legendary 4×4 drivetrain was put to the test on the water-logged mud tracks of the Kalmykiya grasslands in eastern Russia, where it was so sticky that they were impassable to other vehicles, yet the vehicles managed whilst recording more than 40 mpg on asphalt highways and busy urban roads through Russia and Uzbekistan.

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“A stunning combination of mountain passes, arid desert, high altitude, chaotic city streets, heat, humidity and wilderness will provide the perfect testing ground for our first hybrid.  Our engineers are using this adventure as the final development drive before the official sign-off for series production later this year,” added Edwards.

Wildly varying conditions will present the crews and vehicles with tough challenges which Land Rover confidently anticipates the new hybrid’s peerless four-wheel drive and acclaimed Terrain Response® 2 will overcome.

“Land Rover has been exploring the planet since the debut of its first model in 1948.  With the new Range Rover Hybrid, the world’s first premium diesel SUV hybrid, combining significantly lower CO2 emissions with uncompromised performance, the Silk Trail 2013 expedition expresses Land Rover’s commitment to its vehicles as well as to the environment,” concluded Edwards.

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