Land Rover unveiled its Range_e development model with plug-in hybrid diesel-electric powertrain at the Geneva show. It will launch diesel-electric hybrids in 2013 and expects to offer plug-in versions later.

The Range_e is based on the Range Rover Sport and uses the current 245PS three-litre TDV6 diesel engine with eight-speed ZF automatic transmission and a 69kW electric motor. Using a parallel hybrid system, with a 14.2kW/h lithium-ion battery that can be recharged from an external 240V power source, the SUV can be driven on electric power alone for about 20 miles (32km).

A full recharge from a domestic point takes about four hours.

“Typically the majority of European car drivers cover less than 25 miles (40km) a day and therefore the EV range offered by this technology will support the majority of short urban journeys, where fuel economy and emissions are of prime concern. However, for longer journeys the diesel hybrid drivetrain will engage and continually optimise CO2 emissions,” the automaker said.

Overall CO2 emissions are just 89g/km (the petrol-electric Lexus RX400h is 149g), yet Range_e has a maximum system output of 339PS and a top speed of around 120mph (193km/h) and test cycle fuel economy of 85mpg (3.36 litres/100km). Improved fuel efficiency from the hybrid system makes 690 miles (1,112km) possible on a full tank of fuel, the automaker claimed.

The plug-in hybrid has the same 4WD capability as the standard Range Rover Sport, with high and low range transmission, front and rear differentials and a mechanical locking centre differential. It also has regenerative braking to capture energy usually wasted in heat energy via the brakes..

Jaguar Land Rover has committed itself to spending EUR800m on environmental technologies and has targeted a 25% reduction in its fleet average CO2 emissions between 2008 and 2012.