David Cameron test drives the Range_e

Cameron was visiting the Gaydon site to take a look at Jaguar and Land Rover’s apprentice scheme, but he also took a drive in the new, greener SUV.

The Range_e was launched this year at the Geneva Motor Show. Based on the Range Rover Sport, the Range_e uses an electric motor alongside a more conventional electric engine.

This means it is the first Land Rover ever able to run on purely electric power alone, and even with the petrol engine running it averages 85mpg – the highest of any Land Rover.

It also emits 89g/km, meaning it would be the first luxury 4×4 from Land Rover to qualify for zero Vehicle Excise Duty and exemption from the London congestion charge.

Unfortunately, the model is still a concept car and is not available to buy in the UK. Currently, the greenest model in the Land Rover range is the Range Rover Evoque, which will officially go on sale in September.

The three- and five-door Evoque uses conventional diesel engines, but its small size and use of lightweight materials means the most frugal model in the range, the two-wheel drive 2.2-litre diesel version, delivers 150bhp and up to 40mpg.

The Range Rover Evoque, which starts from under £30,000, is being built at the Halewood plant on Merseyside alongside the best-selling UK Land Rover, the Freelander 2.

After touring the Gaydon site, Cameron said: “Jaguar Land Rover is a brilliant example of a business that is investing in skills for the future. It is time to re-industrialise the UK so that means more hi-tech jobs – that’s what’s happening here at Jaguar Land Rover.”

Jaguar, which is owned by the same company as Land Rover, Indian car maker Tata Motors, boasts a number of UK manufacturing plants for production of the XK coupe, XF saloon and new XJ series.