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Land Rover Beginning Work on Hybrid Version...But Not Very Speedily

The FT reports that Land Rover is beginning work on gasoline electric hybrids and is in discussions with Ford—which owns Land Rover—over the Escape Hybrid technology.

The work on hybrid engines comes as attacks on SUVs by governments and pressure groups are increasing sharply. London, Paris, Italy and Sweden have all threatened to ban or tax the vehicles, although no action has yet been taken.

The level of concern was underlined last week when senior officials from many British carmakers were briefed by an American offroader lobby group on what could be done to counter negative views.

British executives who attended the meeting with US lobbyists said it was unlikely the American approach—which includes denying any pollution problems—would be adopted in Britain, as it could further alienate consumers.

Joe Greenwell, Land Rover chairman and chief executive, indicated that while there was a dialog with Ford over using group hybrid technology, the “long development time” meant any hybrid vehicle was at least five years away.

The Land Rover Range Rover has the second-worst fuel economy of any 2005 SUV, according to the EPA.


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