By Raph Raggatt Land Rover is now moving into the 2WD SUV market for the first time with the Freelander 2 eD4 on sale...

By Raph Raggatt

Land Rover is now moving into the 2WD SUV market for the first time with the Freelander 2 eD4 on sale at the start of 2011.

In terms of carbon emissions, this is the most economical vehicle ever produced by Land Rover and demonstrates the company’s intention of lowering carbon emissions and changing customer attitudes.

Although Land Rovers typically don’t have the best image in terms of “green output,” the company is moving in the right direction by investing over £800 million to develop innovative environmental solutions. This gives Land Rover the leading position in terms of UK automotive “green tech” technologies.

As part of the company’s green improvements, it is working with ClimateCare, a carbon offset company, and is engaged in several projects to reduce emissions from production, along with improving efficiency and reducing the weight of the vehicles.

Land Rover’s main credentials are that the CO2 emissions from all its manufacturing assembly operations are offset. Second,  the first 45,000 miles of equivalent emissions can be offset in several countries, including the UK, and these carbon savings come at a cost of between £85 and £165 for the customer depending on the model.

In terms of the new eD4 2WD Freelander, the off-road capabilities are surprisingly strong when compared with the typical 4WD. Considering the carbon savings and the fact that the vehicle would be more than capable for most customers, this shows the potential of the vehicle breaking the mould. The fact that Land Rover has entered the 2WD market is due to the fact that 23 per cent of SUV sales in Europe are for 2WD vehicles, mainly due to customers’ changing environmental perceptions.

With the expanding market in China and other developing countries, there is an increasing demand for high-capability vehicles. Thus, advancements in efficiency and carbon reductions are vital to ensure the effect of emissions from the automotive industry is reduced.

In terms of figures, the eD4 emits 165g/km of carbon, an 8 per cent improvement. Considering the UK average is 167g/km for new cars, this is impressive. This figure still needs to drop, however, as the increasing demand for vehicles worldwide continues and electric and hybrid vehicles are still some way off in terms of comparable driving ability.

Land Rover is currently developing hybrid and electric vehicles looking towards the future in the automotive industry. It expects to begin selling its first diesel hybrid starting in 2013.

The automotive industry has come to the realisation that customers’ attitudes have changed, with a more environmental approach now considered more valuable than ultimate performance. Land Rover has reacted to this and the 2WD eD4 is an excellent example of a high off-road performance vehicle which doesn’t have such a large impact on the environment.

Greenbang

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