The first-ever all-electric Land Rover has been announced -- the Range Rover Electric, an EV version of the flagship Range Rover. The vehicle has a few interesting characteristics, both in the scope of the Land Rover lineup and the EV market as a whole.
The Range Rover Electric is possible because of the Multiple Longitudinal Architecture (MLA Flex) platform that underpins the latest Land Rover models. This platform is designed to host anything from the 606 HP V8 engine in the Range Rover SV, to mild hybrid six-cylinder Ingenium engines, to plug-in hybrids, and now this full EV model. It may be the only luxury car on the market that will offer a performance V8 and an EV unit in the same chassis, with the same design and non-powertrain features.
The EV Rangie isn't quite available yet -- Land Rover is taking names for a "waiting list," but that's more a mailing list than anything, offering the ability "to potentially be among the first to pre-order." Development is still ongoing, with prototype testing going on in the usual locations that comprise Land Rover's international all-conditions test track, from Sweden to Dubai, with likely stops at Death Valley and the Nürburgring. Up to this point, most of the development has been virtual -- a testament to the change in automotive development in recent years.
The Range Rover Electric will be built at Solihull, which has been prioritized to build electric and electrified vehicles. A new £70 million underbody construction facility will allow for the battery packs and other electrical infrastructure to be integrated into the assembly line. The batteries and electric drive units will be built at the new Electric Propulsion Manufacturing Center in Wolverhampton, England -- a major investment by JLR into sustaining British manufacturing.
Much is being put into making sure the Range Rover Electric stands up to the off-road reputation of fossil fuel-powered Range Rovers. In particular, the EV can hold with the gas-powered models, with a 33.4-inch wading depth that's just two inches short of the combustion models (and still significantly higher than a Range Rover Classic and other earlier models). Here, the challenges may be different -- with a gas-powered vehicle, it's all about keeping the air intakes from flooding, while with an EV, it's more about waterproofing the electronics. Other off-road metrics also will have to hold up to scrutiny -- even as the primary market for Range Rover drifts further from off-roading, Land Rover engineers continue to put a lot of focus on all-terrain capability, considering it the core ethos of the brand.
The launch video leans into the off-road capabilities, with a model walking through a lake full of koi to a Range Rover, opening the door and stepping in, revealing her Le Chameau Vierzonord Wellington boots, before driving the vehicle out of the water to the whir of electric motors and water and fish swishing by key Range Rover design elements.
What's unclear is the big question everyone has about EVs these days -- the range of the Rangie. While this hasn't been announced yet, the plug-in hybrid Range Rover has a 52-mile range, one of the better PHEV ranges in the industry as a whole. As Land Rover looks to build their EV reputation on function and usability, hopefully, a clean-sheet Range Rover EV will have one of the better EV ranges available.
Get the ROVERLOG Newsletter Delivered to your inbox
Sign up and receive once every 2 weeks