Johannesburg - Range Rover loyals wanting to go the electric route without giving up the long-distance mile-gobbling capability of petrol power now have two plug-in hybrid options to consider.
But given Eskom’s supply woes and the fact that most of our electricity is sourced from coal, which according to certain studies defeats the object of buying an EV in the first place, is now really the time to buy a vehicle that plugs into the grid?
That depends on your needs and circumstances really.
At a stretch there certainly could be a little niche for vehicles like this among well-heeled buyers who have gone off the grid with solar panels.
But driving habits are also key here - as PHEVs tend to be heavy on fuel once their batteries are depleted (due to the weight of those batteries) they need to be regularly recharged in order to make sense, so they tend to suit buyers who do more inner-city driving, but who like to have the petrol engine on hand for occasional long-distance driving.
But back to the Rovers - what we have here are the Range Rover Sport P400e, priced at R1 639 300, and Range Rover P400e, yours for the more princely sum of R2 207 300.
Both are powered by a hybrid drivetrain that mates a 221kW 2-litre four-cylinder Ingenium turbopetrol engine to an 85kW electric motor for total system outputs of 297kW and 640Nm, according to Land Rover. With all hands on deck, the Range Rover can accelerate from 0-100km/h in as little as 6.8 seconds, according to claims, while the Range Rover Sport can do that dash in 6.7 seconds.
The electric motor is housed within the eight-speed torque converter automatic gearbox, alongside a 7kW on-board charger, while the lithium-ion batteries are fitted beneath the boot floor.
Behind the front grille badge you’ll find a socket - plug in and you’ll get a range of around 50km between charges, according to Land Rover claims. A full charge is said to take 7 hours and 30 minutes using the standard home charging cable, however the optional 32 amp wall box can reduce the waiting time to 2h45m.
Land Rover’s Terrain Response 2 four-wheel-drive system has been uniquely calibrated to distribute torque from the electric motor and the advantage here is greater control during low-speed off-road driving.
The default driving mode combines petrol and electric drive, but drivers can make use of a ‘Save’ function that prevents the battery charge from dropping below a pre-selected level and there’s a Predictive Energy Optimisation function that works with the satnav system to optimise battery use in accordance with the route selected. There is also an EV mode that allows the vehicle to run solely on electric power.
The Range Rover P400e is available in standard and long wheelbase guises and offers an abundance of high-end features, including the ‘gesture sunblind’ that can open and close via rearward and forward swipes in front of the rearwiew mirror.
Also available are Pixel-laser LED headlights, the Activity Key and front seats with Hot Stone massage technology and up to 24-way movement.