If there's one surefire way to piss off an environmentalist, it's by owning a Jaguar -- but that could soon change, if the company's new range of hybrid concept cars is anything to go by
If there's one surefire way to get right up an environmentalist's nose, it's owning a Jaguar -- John "fists of eco fury" Prescott made sure of that. The government is now helping Jaguar change its public perception, however, with funding for a range of super-efficient hybrid vehicles.
The first of these concept hybrids, codenamed Limo Green, will be based on Jaguar's XJ luxury sedan. Unlike the parallel hybrid systems in the Prius, Limo Green will use a series hybrid system, whose combustion engine never directly powers the wheels. Instead, the engine powers a generator, which in turn charges a battery, which powers an electric motor, which moves the vehicle.
Propelling a car exclusively with an electric motor can be far more efficient than doing so with an internal combustion engine. Jaguar believes the Limo Green will achieve a 0-62mph in 7.1 seconds, emissions of 120g/km, and be capable of well over 1,000 miles on a single tank of petrol. The Prius, for reference, emits 104g/km, but takes four and a half days to get from 0-60mph*.
Jaguar's second eco project is a hybrid Range Rover that can run exclusively on battery power for up to 12 miles. Those with longer journies will be pleased to hear the vehicle delivers CO2 emissions of just 120g/km to 130g/km. Compare this to the standard Range Rover TDV8, which returns 299g/km and you'll start to understand how remarkable this is.
The concept Range Rover is based on Jaguar/Land Rover's "range extended electric vehicle", or REHEV platform. This, in layman's terms is a modular powertrain (a group of components that generate power and deliver it to the road) that can be "plugged" into a range of vehicles -- rather like Lego -- turning them into hybrids. If trials are successful, expect it to crop up in all manner of vehicles.
The final piece in Jaguar's eco puzzle is a flywheel hybrid system that is entirely mechanical in nature. Whenever the vehicle decelerates or brakes, the system captures kinetic energy in a high-speed rotating flywheel, which later releases this energy, powering the vehicle as it accelerates. Not only is this system less expensive than either parallel or series hybrids, it also has few drawbacks such as battery life and battery disposal. Oh, and Lewis Hamilton's new Formula One car uses a similar system -- 'nuff said.
There you go, boys and girls. Owning two Jags -- or even three -- won't be such a bad thing in the future. We'll bring you more on these developments as we get them.