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A Land Rover Sport 400e plug-in hybrid SUV. 99 turns. 999 steps. Can your plug-in hybrid do this?


Can Your Plug-In Hybrid SUV Do This? Land Rover Takes On China’s Dragon Challenge

A Land Rover Sport 400e plug-in hybrid SUV. 99 turns. 999 steps. Can your plug-in hybrid do this?

If this was Jeopardy!, Alex Trebek would call this a visual daily double — two videos that record the ascent of a bone stock Land Rover Sport 400e plug-in hybrid up Tianmen Mountain in central China. Forget the Stelvio Pass and Pike’s Peak. The Alps? Mere child’s play. The path to the top of this mountain has 99 turns and 999 steps. Parts of the climb are nearly vertical. Yet the Land Rover handled it all with aplomb. (Note: the car was fitted with optional off road tires.)

Immerse yourself in the goodness of the following two videos and watch the Land Rover PHEV take on one of the most incredible driving adventures in the world of motoring. If your passion is a plug-in hybrid SUV that is a true off-road monster, we expect you will be banging on the door of your local Land Rover dealer first thing tomorrow morning begging to be let in so you can order one for your own driveway.

As Phil Jones, head of the Land Rover Experience explains, his company was looking for one of the most difficult off road driving challenges the world has to offer. With Tianmen Mountain, they found what they were looking for — an absolutely amazing bit of road that few street legal cars in the world could handle. While the event was carefully orchestrated to limit the risk to the driver, the ascent was still fraught with danger. Any misstep could have sent the car plunging down into the valley below.

Need more of an adrenaline rush? Here ya go, amigo! Sometimes a video is worth ten thousand words. Enjoy.

We don’t usually get too excited about videos produced by manufacturers, but these are different. This is a real car with a real driver doing something incredibly dangerous. The fact that the Land Rover was unmodified — no special suspension, no frame reinforcements — makes the feat just that much more impressive.

Well done, Land Rover. You have thrown down the gauntlet to every other manufacturer who makes a plug-in hybrid SUV. Few will dare pick it up.

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Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. 3000 years ago, Socrates said, "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." Perhaps it's time we heed his advice.


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