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2013-10-15 12:10

GO-ANYWHERE HYBRID: After conquering a gruelling 16 000km journey, Land Rover’s Range Rover Hybrid has received the green light and is headed for production. Image: LAND ROVER

53 days, 13 countries, 15 punctures... Three Range Rover Diesel Hybrid prototypes have completed an epic 16 000km journey from England via China to India. We have gallery images and video!

MUMBAI, India – Earlier in 2013, Wheels24 reported on a trio of hybrid Range Rovers setting off from the home of Land Rover in Solihull, central England, on August 22 to embark on the automaker's 2013 Silk Trail  Expedition. The hybrids were driven by teams of Land Rover engineers and journalists.

In October 2013, the team has completed what the automaker calls "the ultimate engineering sign-off" by crossing 13 countries in 53 days from England via China to Mumbai, India.

Gallery: 2013 Range Rover hybrid's Silk Trail journey

Video: 2013 Range Rover hybrid's Silk Trail wrap


The odyssey was the world’s first hybrid expedition along the Silk Trail and proved to be the final test before the new Range Rover Hybrid heads into production.

The hybrids blazed from the UK through France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, China (including Tibet), Nepal and India, following the 6500km ancient Silk Road trading routes that first connected Asia with Europe more than 2500 years ago. Many of the overnight stops were at caravanserai - ancient resting places used by Silk Road merchants, missionaries and mercenaries.

Where the north and south Silk Roads split, near Kashgar, China, the expedition pioneered a mountainous route never before completed by a vehicle from outside the country and never previously seen in its entirety by any Westerner – the Xinjiang-Tibet highway.

The route put the new Range Rover Hybrid through its paces at more than 5300m above sea level. Seven consecutive days were spent between 3350 and 5379m (three to fives times the height of Table Mountain). At such heights, oxygen is reduced making movement difficult for drivers and the engines.

The hybrids are powered by a TDV6 3.0 turbodiesel supported by a 35kW electric motor and the automaker claimed a fuel consumption of 7.75 litres/100km averaged over the trio. The purpose of the expedition was to fine-tune the calibration of engine and transmission software.


Technical setbacks reflected the conditions - 15 punctures, four wheels damaged by potholes and four cracked windscreens.

Jaguar Land Rover's hybrids director Peter Richings said: “The world’s first diesel hybrid expedition along the Silk Trail pioneered an ambitious route across Europe and Asia that would have been impassable to most other types of vehicle. No matter how hostile the conditions, the Range Rover Hybrid prototypes took it all in their stride.

“In developing the hybrid-powered Range Rover, our objective was to gain the hybrid’s fuel economy and carbon emissions advantages without compromising the Range Rover’s go-anywhere capabilities, its cabin space or its refinement. The success of this remarkable expedition clearly demonstrates we have achieved that."

Read more on:    land rover  |  england  |  china  |  green  |  hybrid

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