11 October 2013
Range Rover Hybrids drive through Nepal
Leaving behind high altitudes and the peaks of the Himalayas, the three Range Rover Hybrid prototypes were driven on flatter but more hazardous roads, passing paddy fields and rain forests.
The heat and humidity, and the density and unpredictability of the traffic, have been increasing every day. The team say the responsiveness of the Hybrid engine to the driver's throttle commands, and its ability to accelerate strongly, enabled safe overtaking manoeuvres on roads busy with trucks and buses.
The next leg from Kathmandu to Pokhara (a town surrounded by three of the ten highest mountains in the world), was a 127-mile stretch of road demanding eight hours of unwavering concentration. Every foot of road space was contested by bicycles, tricycles, horse-drawn carts, scooters, motorbikes, cars, mini-buses, buses, trucks, roving cows, slow-moving water buffalo, loose dogs, and fearless pedestrians. The need for regular braking kept the hybrid motor's battery recharged ensuring it assisted the 3.-litre SDV6 diesel engine and further improved fuel economy despite the ever-changing pace of driving.
The three Range Rover Hybrid prototypes were then read to cross the bridge over the Mahakali River and into India, for the final 1,000 miles to the expedition's destination, the city of Mumbai.