Three prototype hybrid Range Rovers have shown what they are capable of over the hot deserts of Uzbekistan and the high mountains of Kyrgyzstan as the Silk Trail 2013 continues.
So far the team has covered more than 5,000 miles of their trans-continental voyage from Solihull to the home of parent company TATA in Mumbai.
The two-month journey began in Uzbekistan’s capital city Tashkent, for centuries a stopping post for Silk Road merchants, missionaries and mercenaries. The expedition then entered Kyrgyzstan, the 11th of the 14 countries on its route.
In August Jaguar Land Rover announced details of the new Range Rover hybrid model, which will go on sale in 2014. With the new models combining Land Rover’s existing 3.0-liter V6 diesel engine and an eight-speed automatic gearbox with a compact 47bhp electric motor.
Bad weather and difficult driving conditions have meant that the vehicles have often been put through their paces on this difficult leg of the journey.
Following recent heavy rain, the steep inclined roads were so wet and muddy that even the most capable hybrid four-wheel-drive vehicles in the world had to fight their way forward yard-by-yard. But the new model showed it was more than a match for the conditions; as they overcame all that was put in front of them with minimum fuss.
Despite heavy loads and the punishing terrain, the hybrid Range Rovers have suffered only four punctures and one cracked windscreen between them.
The Range Rover hybrids have been able to travel on their electric motors only, gliding downhill in near-silence, with the braking for hairpin bends often enough to regenerate the battery’s charge.
The convoy is expected to reach Mumbai on October 15th.