JLR revives Freelander name for new range of electric cars

One, reports say, will be the M3X platform developed in partnership with Magna International. This structure – used by the Exeed RX and Chery Fulwin T10 SUVs – can accommodate both pure-combustion and plug-in hybrid powertrains, but it is anticipated Freelander cars will only offer the latter.

Chery’s latest ‘Super Hybrid’ PHEV drivetrain combines a petrol engine with a pair of electric motors in the gearbox – a set-up Chery refers to as a world-first – with a large-capacity battery supplying an EV-only range of up to 99 miles.

The other architecture is known as E0X, and is engineered for battery-electric and range-extender drivetrains, with an 800V charging architecture and the option of front-, rear- or four-wheel drive.

Both architectures have a variable wheelbase and can be used for both crossovers and lower-slung models, but JLR has yet to confirm whether Freelander will remain an SUV-only brand. 

exeed stand at qatar motor show

Chery’s range-extender (REx) technology is likely to have been particularly attractive to JLR given the surging popularity of the format in China; from January to September last year, sales of REx cars – known there as extended-range EVs (EREVs) – soared by 157% to 400,000 units.

Conventional PHEVs remain more popular outright, but REx sales are growing quicker – in part because buyers can take advantage of many of the same incentives as pure-EV owners, while retaining a combustion engine for added range. 

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