First pictures: 2024 Range Rover Electric shown in full

Range Rover Electric prototype winter testing drift

Clues to the electric powertrain are minimal

Land Rover brand’s first EV tests in extreme conditions as it approaches a launch later this year

The new electric Range Rover has been all but revealed as final-stage testing gets under way ahead of its launch later this year. 

New images show JLR’s second production EV testing in the Arctic Circle – following a year of component and virtual tests – where temperatures fall as low as -40deg C. 

Unusually, the Range Rover EV has been shown completely uncamouflaged – a decision made to “underline the build quality of the initial prototypes”, according to JLR.

Painted all in black and without the contrasting matt trim elements that JLR has previously suggested will mark out the EV powertrain, the prototype looks all but identical to the ICE Range Rover that has been on sale since 2022.

JLR said these new images show how the prototype’s “modernist design language stays true to the Range Rover bloodline”, suggesting that the Range Rover Electric – as it is officially named – will only be subtly differentiated from the straight-six, V8 and plug-in hybrid derivatives. 

Mercedes-Benz is taking a similar approach with the electric version of the G-Class, which will be revealed this week at the Beijing motor show, and is tipped to remain largely identical to the fuel-burning variants.

The focus at this stage of the Range Rover Electric’s development programme is said to be the performance of its gearbox, electric motors and electronics in extreme conditions. JLR highlighted that this is the first car to use a battery and electric drive unit (EDU) assembled in-house.

The company also revealed that, rather than a conventional ABS-based traction control system, the new EV uses new software to precisely manage slip at each wheel – claiming to have reduced the “torque reaction time at each wheel from around 100 milliseconds, to as little as one millisecond”. As a result, “traction is maximised on all surfaces with exceptional response and composed refinement, significantly enhancing the Range Rover drive experience”. 

No specific technical details or performance figures have yet been given, however, beyond the earlier confirmation that it will use an 800V charging architecture. 

JLR opened the waiting list for the first electric Range Rover in December last year and by February claimed to have taken more than 16,000 expressions of interest. 

While the waiting list only gives an indication of interested customers, rather than a formal reservation, JLR boss Adrian Mardell said the firm was “excited about the strong client interest” in the EV. 

Although bosses have yet to give any performance details for the new Range Rover, it has been promised to have the same “go-anywhere” capability as the ICE version, with a pledge that it will offer towing, wading and all-terrain capability that will exceed any other luxury electric SUV – including the ability to wade through 850mm-deep water.

The hint that the Range Rover Electric will offer performance “comparable” to the existing V8 suggests a total output close to the 523bhp that model offers.

It’s expected to adopt a dual-motor system, which will allow for greater four-wheel-drive ability and systems such as torque vectoring to boost its off-road potential. 

JLR said its test programme has been adapted to particularly examine the vehicle’s underfloor, battery durability and thermal derating. 

The Range Rover Electric will be built in Solihull alongside the existing mild-hybrid and PHEV versions. It will initially use batteries from a third-party supplier before eventually switching to packs produced in the new Somerset gigafactory that JLR parent firm Tata is planning. 

Interestingly, Land Rover programme director Nick Miller previously told Autocar that the MLA architecture can also readily accommodate a hydrogen powertrain, which means a Range Rover FCEV could be on the cards – although the company hasn’t given an update on its Project Zeus hydrogen development programme for some time. 

Land Rover was previously testing a hydrogen-fuelled Defender prototype and said hydrogen will be “complementary” to battery-electric technology across its line-up as it strives to achieve zero tailpipe emissions by 2036.

Source: Autocar

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