NEW YORK – Land Rover North America unveils a suite of technologies on its Land_e concept here at the New York auto show.
The technologies collectively are known as the e-Terrain System, with promises of reduced fuel consumption and harmful emissions while improving 4-wheel-drive performance.
The Land_e features such innovations as an integrated starter-generator that switches the engine off when the driver comes to a stop, and restarts the vehicle with throttle input; biofuel capability; and an integrated electric rear-axle drive, creating a hybrid system, says Richard Beattie, executive vice president-marketing and sales.
Also included on Land_e is a semi-automatic gearbox, which Beattie compares to a modern racecar system that eliminates the need for a torque converter.
“This is primarily an R&D (research and development) exercise,” Beattie says, but adds Land Rover’s engineering team created the Land_e with future implementation in mind.
He says a technology likely to see production will be the integrated starter-generator.
Beattie also announces the creation of “Go Beyond TV” on landrover.com. It is billed as the first broadband TV channel to be launched by an auto maker and will feature a variety of programming in the categories of people, places, culture and sport.
A recent addition is an interview this week with tennis champion Maria Sharapova, who joins golfer Greg Norman as a new Land Rover spokesperson.
“(Land Rover is a) small brand and we can’t afford to advertise broadly,” Beattie says, following a press conference on the creation of “Go Beyond TV.” “A more targeted approach to marketing is what we’re about.”
Meanwhile, Beattie says even though a diesel engine for the U.S. still is a couple years away, Land Rover hasn’t suffered significant downturn due to high gasoline costs.
“At our end of the business, it seems the Range Rovers are fairly impervious to any major shift in gas prices,” he says, adding an extra $200-$250 a year in fuel costs likely won’t impact a buyer that can afford a $97,000 SUV.
He says the average household income for a Range Rover owner is between $300,000 and $400,000 a year.
Beattie also says he is a firm believer in the continued dominance of the gasoline internal combustion engine.
“It is such an efficient machine that I believe it will last a lot longer than contemporary critique would say,” he says, adding he believes there still are plentiful, untapped energy resources on the planet.