LONDON -- Jaguar Land Rover is talking with other automakers about a partnership on hybrid vehicles as the UK luxury car manufacturer battles to meet CO2 emissions targets in Europe.
"Some discussions have taken place with other manufacturers," Wolfgang Epple, JLR's research and technology head, told Automotive News Europe. He declined to identify which companies JLR has spoken with.
Epple has previous experience in collaborating with other automakers on hybrids. As vice president of hybrid technology at BMW he worked with General Motors and DaimlerChrysler on the development of a transmission in the United States to channel both gasoline and electric power.
Epple said the cost-saving cooperation, which started in 2005, was successful. "Subsequently each of the manufacturers has built its own car and we have all used the same components," he said.
JLR will start selling diesel-hybrid versions of the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport early next year. According to the company, these models will reduce CO2 by 26 percent compared with the standard V-6 diesels on which they are based. The two SUVs will not be sold in the United States.
Jaguar Land Rover has to make the biggest improvements of any automaker to reach the European Union's CO2 target for 2015, according to a report by analyst Bernstein Research.
"Arguably the single biggest challenge for JLR is hitting future fuel economy/CO2 emissions," report author Max Warburton wrote. "It will need to fit hybrid to a greater proportion of its vehicles than almost any other manufacturer in order to hit CO2 targets."
According to the Bernstein report, JLR must cut average CO2 emissions to 164 grams per kilometer by 2015 to meet European regulations. According to JLR, the company's average CO2 figure in 2011 was 206g/km, down from 223g/km in 2010.
The 164g/km target, which is higher than the overall industry goal of 130g/km, reflects the higher average weight of Land Rover and Jaguar vehicles, the company said.
Earlier this month JLR said it would produce three electric concepts based on the Range Rover Evoque compact SUV in a development study partly funded by the UK government's Technology Strategy Board. Partners in the project to develop a mild hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and a full-electric vehicle will include British drivetrain specialist GKN, the engineering arm of the Williams F1 team and British battery vehicle maker Zytek.
JLR is also investing in a new advanced research center in the UK. Hybrids will be a key area of focus when the center opens in 2016.