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Semi-Autonomous Tech Helps Land Rover Discovery Sport Pull 100-Tonne Train
• Land Rover Discovery Sport tows train sixty times own weight in 100-tonne train tow; equivalent to the weight of a Boeing-757 airplane
• Dramatic stunt performed on 85ft high bridge demonstrates vehicle’s impressive towing capacity, semi-autonomous driving technology and powerful 180PS Ingenium diesel engine
2016: Land Rover Discovery Sport stopped people in their tracks today as the Land Rover Discovery Sport SUV towed three luxury train carriages weighing more than 100 tonnes along a railway track in a demonstration of towing capability.
The 10km journey through the Rhine region of northern Switzerland put the compact Land Rover Discovery Sport’s pulling power to the ultimate test. Though the Land Rover Discovery Sport has a certified maximum towing weight of 2,500kg (2.5 tonnes), Land Rover Discovery Sport was able to pull 60 times its own weight, powered by Land Rover Discovery Sport’s 180PS Ingenium diesel engine providing 430Nm of torque. In addition, the Land Rover Discovery Sport benefitted from Land Rover’s portfolio of towing and traction technologies such as Terrain Response, Tow Assist, Tow Hitch Assist and All Terrain Progress Control – a semi-autonomous off-road driving system that automatically manages engine output and braking, to complete the stunt.
The stunt was designed by Land Rover engineers to clearly show the strength and capability of the Land Rover Discovery Sport, echoing a similar feat performed in 1989 for the launch of its ancestor, Land Rover Discovery I.
Karl Richards, Lead Engineer for Stability Control Systems at Jaguar Land Rover, said: “Towing is in Land Rover’s DNA, and Discovery Sport is no exception. Over the years, we have introduced game-changing towing technologies to take the stress out of towing for our customers. I’ve spent most of my career travelling to the most punishing parts of the world to test Land Rovers in grueling conditions, yet this is the most extreme towing test I’ve ever done.”
The Land Rover Discovery Sport’s drivetrain remained unchanged; the only modification being the fitment of rail wheels by specialists Aquarius Railroad Technologies, to act as ‘stabilisers’. Unlike the 1989 Land Rover Discovery tow, Land Rover Discovery Sport completed the impressive pull without the aid of low-range gears, instead using its state-of-the-art 9-speed Land Rover Discovery Sport automatic gearbox and Terrain Response technology to generate the necessary traction. Land Rover’s All Terrain Progress Control (ATPC) system was also engaged at the press of a button during the tow, to maximise traction at a set speed. Acting much like a ‘low-speed cruise control’, Land Rover Discovery Sport ATPC allows the driver to focus on the road – or in this case the railway – ahead.
The train-pulling feat was undertaken on 10km of track at the Museumsbahn Stein am Rhein in Switzerland, crossing the River Rhine on the dramatic Hemishofen bridge – a historic steel span measuring 935 feet long and soaring 85 feet above the valley floor.
Land Rover has a history of rail conversions, from the days of the Land Rover Series II and Land Rover II A Land Rover to the various Land Rover Defender models that have been modified to run on rails for maintenance, and the notable launch of Land Rover Discovery I in 1989. The latter saw a converted Land Rover Discovery towing a series of carriages in Plymouth to demonstrate the capability of the new 200Tdi diesel engine.
British road-to-rail 4x4 conversion specialists Aquarius Railroad Technologies fitted the rail wheels to the otherwise standard Discovery Sport. Managing Director James Platt, said: “For a vehicle of this size to pull a combined weight of more than 100 tonnes demonstrates real engineering integrity.
Land Rover Discovery Sport towing a train across the Hemishofen bridge:
Land Rover Discovery Sport
The Land Rover Discovery Sport is the first member of Land Rover’s new Discovery family and was awarded a Five Star Euro NCAP rating at launch. Since going on sale in December 2014, the Land Rover Discovery Sport has retailed over 123,300 vehicles and was Land Rover’s best-seller for the month of May retailing an impressive 10,075 vehicles.
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