2011 Land Rover Range_e

One thing is certain, you are going to hear a lot more about Land Rover’s e_Terrain technologies in the future. The company’s e_Terrain developments were first showcased via the Land_e concept renderings (pictured below left) shown by Land Rover in 2006. At the time, Land Rover was calling its new suite of efficiency technologies “e-Terrain” (with a hyphen instead of an underscore). Since then, some of the names have changed but the concepts have remained the same. The Land_e renderings featured a variety of technologies:

  • ERAD – Integrated Electric Rear Axle Drive
  • ISG – Integrated Starter-Generator
  • Innovative Propshaft with Seamless Re-connect
  • Power-shift Automated Manual Transmission
  • Terrain Response e-Mode
  • Biofuel Capability (using bio-ethanol or bio-diesel fuel depending on engine derivative)
  • ITP – Intelligent Thermal Program
  • EPAS – Electric Power Assisted Steering
  • IMES – Intelligent Management of Electrical Systems

Land Rover Land_e RenderingThe conceptual e-Terrain system was built around a diesel-electric hybrid platform, however there is no reason that diesel is the only powertrain usable with e_Terrain technologies, as noted in the biofuel bullet point above. Even though these technologies are presented as a unified suite of correlating systems on the Land_e, many are applicable individually. In fact, e_Terrain developments appear on production vehicles such as the 2012 Discovery 4 (with the Intelligent Power Management System) and the Freelander 2 (with Intelligent Stop/Start).

Other e_Terrain technologies are somewhat less notable and include basic measures such as weight reduction and material recycling, both of which feature on the 2012 Range Rover Evoque. While not as sexy as diesel-hybrid systems and “Intelligent” technologies, these measures can make a noticeable impact on fuel economy and other vehicle attributes.

The e_Terrain Response System

One of the most interesting features of e_Terrain is e_Terrain Response, which builds on Land Rover’s highly regarded Terrain Response system. e_Terrain Response operates much in the same way as the traditional Terrain Response system. There are five program modes: Eco, Dynamic, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud and Ruts, and Sand.

Eco Program – The Eco setting is the normal driving mode, which allows the vehicle to switch between electric and internal combustion power depending on driving conditions. At low speed, Eco mode will allow the Electric Rear Axle Drive (ERAD) to power the rear wheels. This is not unlike similar hybrid systems from other manufacturers which shut off the internal combustion engine and rely on electric power at low speeds.

Dynamic Program – The Dynamic setting (which is not related to the Range Rover Evoque Dynamic trim level) is for steady speed use on the open road. The internal combustion engine drives the front wheels for a majority of the time. When necessary, instant four-wheel drive traction becomes available with the engine and the electric drive system working together to provide power and torque.

Grass/Gravel/Snow Program – The Grass/Gravel/Snow setting reduces wheelspin on slippery or loose surfaces. The electric drive launches the vehicle in four-wheel drive with the engine contributing power only when needed. Precise torque control allows maximum traction with minimized CO2 emissions.

Mud and Ruts Program – The Mud and Ruts setting provides two options for the driver: low torque under electric power or high power and torque with the engine and electric drive system working in conjunction for greater control and response.

Sand Program – Finally, the Sand setting is the “full power” mode, allowing the electric drive system to aid the engine to deliver not only the full power of the engine, but the extra power of the electric drive.

Of course, e_Terrain Response relies on the hybrid powertrain for operation, hence why we will not see it in a production vehicle until Land Rover finally goes hybrid. Fortunately, Land Rover has stated this will happen within the next two years.

e_Terrain in the Future

As mentioned, we’ll see further applications of e_Terrain technologies as Land Rover moves into the hybrid and electric vehicle segments. Even so, certain elements of the e_Terrain technology suite are already seeing their way onto production vehicles. The 2012 Discovery 4 (LR4 here in the U.S.) uses the Intelligent Power Management System that includes Smart Regenerative Charging (SRC). Whenever possible, the alternator charges the battery when it is most economical to do so, such as when the Discovery 4 is coasting. Also as mentioned, the Range Rover Evoque and Freelander 2 are benefiting from e_Terrain developments.

The first widely available vehicle to put e_Terrain — or at least portions of it — to the test will likely be the Land Rover Range_e, Land Rover’s plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) development vehicle that made its debut this year at the Geneva Auto Show. The Range_e is based on the Range Rover Sport and should be in production for 2013.

2011 Land Rover Range_e Side View

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