15 October 2013

Land Rovers complete Silk Trail expedition

The three Range Rover diesel hybrid prototypes have now completed the ultimate engineering sign-off test by traversing 13 countries over 53 days from Solihull in the UK to Mumbai in India. It is the world's first ever hybrid expedition along the Silk Trail and one of the boldest driving adventures ever pursued by Land Rover.

Hostile conditions on the route included asphalt roads riddled with vast and deep potholes, dusty desert trails in 43 degrees Celsius heat and numerous miles of mud and gravel tracks and cattle trails. In addition river crossings, passes clinging to the edges of mountains partly blocked by rock falls, the thin air of extremely high altitudes and the dense and erratic traffic of Chinese and Indian roads, all added to the test of man and machine.

The Silk Trail 2013 expedition was the final validation test for the Range Rover hybrid before it is signed-off for production.

It has blazed a trail through France Belgium, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, China (including Tibet), Nepal and India. For much of this distance, the expedition followed the legendary Silk Road trading routes that first connected Asia with Europe more than 2,500 years ago. Overnight halts were made in hotels, hostels and tents at many of the same staging posts visited all those years ago by Silk Road merchants, missionaries and mercenaries.

Jaguar Land Rover say the routes travelled would have been impassable to most other types of vehicle, but the Range Rover hybrid prototypes took it all in their stride.