Land Rover begins testing the first electric Range Rover

RR BEV Announcement 131223 07

The first electric Range Rover is around the corner. The company — which is in the process of morphing into a sub-brand within Jaguar – Land Rover — has started testing pre-production prototypes, and it released preliminary details to give us a better idea of what’s in store.

Planned from the get-go, the battery-powered variant of the fifth-generation Range Rover will share its Modular Longitudinal Architecture with the existing gasoline-powered model. Its design remains under wraps for the time being, but preview images released by the brand suggest that at least a small handful of styling cues will differentiate the electric model, including “EV”-branded center caps on the wheels. We’re not expecting to see significant changes, such as completely rejigged proportions, but designers could make the front end smoother.

It’s too early to tell what the electric Range Rover will be powered by. All we know is that the drivetrain will offer V8-like performance. For context, the BMW-sourced 4.4-liter V8 offered in the flagship model relies on a pair of turbos to develop 523 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. It sends the 5,530-pound SUV from zero to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds and on to a top speed that’s electronically limited to 155 mph. It also unlocks a usable 8,200-pound towing capacity. In the EV, an 800-volt electrical system should allow for relatively quick charging times.

We’re told that going electric isn’t an excuse to sacrifice the above-average off-road capability that the Range Rover has been known for since the first-generation model made its debut in 1970. The electric version will notably be capable of driving through up to 33.4 inches of water (down from 35.4 in the V8-powered model). While it won’t be the best diver, it’s being developed to become the quietest member of the line-up thanks in part to what Land Rover proudly refers to as “a unique active road noise cancellation configuration and sound design.” 

Built in Solihull, England, the electric Range Rover should make its official debut in the coming months. The brand has already started taking deposits for the model, though pricing information hasn’t been announced yet. Fear not, V8 fans: the gasoline-powered variants will live on.

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