Wednesday, 23 April 2014
Land Rover expands V6 diesel use
New uses continue to be found for the Ford V6 diesel engine built at Dagenham, UK, the latest being the Range Rover Hybrid Long Wheelbase unit launched at the Beijing motor show.
Together with the Range Rover Sport Hybrid, this will be the first diesel hybrid model from any manufacturer to be offered in China.
The Ford V6 diesel uses a compacted graphite iron (CGI) cylinder block produced by Tupy SA in Brazil which uses the SinterCast CGI process control technology in its foundries to cast the high-strength iron.
China is recognised by Land Rover as a potentially strong market for its new premium hybrids, whilst the long wheelbase design is said to be best suited to Chinese customers’ preferences for luxury and spaciousness.
Global order books open next month and first deliveries to customers in China begin at the end of the year.
The Range Rover Hybrid powertrain combines the Land Rover-branded 3-litre SDV6 diesel engine with a 35kW electric motor, integrated with an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission. The system allows the driver to select from three different drive modes to maximise performance or efficiency, and is capable of delivering 26 per cent lower CO emissions (169g/km) and 6.4 l/100 km (44.1mpg).
Output of the diesel engine and electric motor is 340PS at 4,000rev/min and a class-leading 700Nm torque between 1,500 and 3,000rev/min, delivering performance on a par with the SDV8 engine.
The version to be marketed in China is technically identical to that sold elsewhere, except for a change to the exhaust system to take into account the different local emissions standards.
The complete system, including a lithium ion battery pack, inverter and electric motor, weighs under 120kg. The electric motor produces 170Nm torque and can boost acceleration when required. It can also drive the vehicle in EV (electric vehicle) Mode.
The motor also acts as a generator, harvesting kinetic energy through regenerative braking, charging the battery when the vehicle is slowing. In EV mode the Range Rover Hybrid can travel at speeds of up to 30mph (48km/h) for a range of up to one mile (1.6km) before the diesel engine seamlessly restarts.
Installing the hybrid diesel-electric powertrain in the Range Rover Long Wheelbase has not compromised space, or the driving experience, according to Land Rover. The long wheelbase offers the benefits of an additional 186mm of legroom for rear seat passengers and, with the option of the executive seating package with an increase in the rear seat angle of recline to 17 degrees.
The production vehicles benefit from the insight Land Rover engineers have gained from its Silk Trail expedition in 2013. A fleet of Range Rover Hybrids proved their durability and all-terrain capability on a gruelling 16,000km route from the Land Rover factory in Solihull, across central Asia to the Mumbai headquarters of Tata, Land Rover’s parent company.
After the journey, the vehicles were stripped down and scrutinised by engineers to improve understanding of how the designs and technologies can be fine-tuned
SinterCast’s annualised series production during the first quarter of 2014 increased to 1.70 million Engine Equivalents, benefitting from several new CGI engine applications.
The figure provides a new quarterly record; a 30 per cent growth compared to the first quarter of 2013. Production in March totalled 1.75 million Engine Equivalents, SinterCast's second highest month ever.
The increase in series production was driven primarily by a 100 per cent year-on-year increase in commercial vehicle volume, benefitting from new engine launches and the introduction of Euro 6 emissions legislation on 1 January 2014. All commercial vehicles produced for sale in Western Europe must now comply with the Euro 6 standard.
Series production has benefitted also from increased pick-up volume in North America, with the Ram 1500 becoming the second best-selling vehicle in North America during March 2014, due in part to the start of diesel sales in February.
The three best-selling vehicles in North America throughout the first quarter were all pick-ups. SinterCast's links to the important pick-up sector were further strengthened in the first quarter, following Ford's introduction of the first high-volume CGI petrol engine.
Ford, together with Audi, was the first to use CGI engine blocks on a high volume scale for passenger vehicles.
Announced at the North American International Auto Show on 13 January, the 2.7 litre V6 petrol engine will be available later this year in the Ford F150. Ford has yet to announce both the power of its ground-breaking engine and which foundry will make production CGI blocks but the expectation of the latter is that it will be Tupy.
Nissan has also announced the introduction of a SinterCast-CGI V8 diesel engine in the next generation Titan, which has been confirmed for launch at the North American International Auto Show in January 2015.
This progress provides SinterCast with a presence in three of the five full-size pick-up entries, in a market of approximately two million vehicles per year. ∎