The kooks at Land Rover decided they wanted to give the prototypes of the new Range Rover Diesel Hybrid the perfect sign off for production. So, they decided to drive and test them en route from the home of Land Rover in Solihull, UK, to Mumbai, the home of parent company Tata Motors.
The route saw the cars drive through 14 countries — from the scorching deserts of Uzbekistan to the rugged peaks of Kyrgyzstan through temperatures ranging from -10deg C to 45deg C and finally conclude in Mumbai.
The team driving the Evoque convoy started from Germany and was led by Dag Rogge, head of Land Rover Experience, and the Hybrid prototype convoy was led by Hans Hermann Ruthe. It took the team two years of pre-planning to organise the journey, everything from the route to Visas to approval from each country's government. The Hybrids were subjected to narrow roads, hilly roads, off-road sections, open highways, high altitudes and a whole range of other terrain. Engineers from Land Rover were part of the team driving to Mumbai, and at the end of each day, collected and relayed data (a massive 300 GB of it!) from the Hybrid to Land Rover in the UK.
An interesting detail — when the team was driving through the peaks of Tibet, the drivers decided to engage the all-electric mode on the Hybrids, and since the engine doesn't need to take in any air when it's running on electric, it drove without any complaints at all, while the cars running on only diesel struggled a bit because of the thin air.
Also, the team driving the Evoques were driving early versions of the 2014 car with the nine-speed ZF gearbox, which according to Dag, "where extremely smooth to operate, responsive and helped significantly reduce fuel consumption too".