Freelander name making jump from old Land Rover model to new EV brand

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The Jaguar Land Rover House of Brands is about to grow by one. JLR signed a Letter of Intent to license a new brand called Freelander to its Chinese joint-venture partner of 12 years, Chery. For those who missed it, Land Rover sold a compact four-wheel-drive model called the Freelander or LR2, depending on market and generation, from 1997 to 2015. The Freelander didn't get the best press, but that didn't stop it from being popular because, before the Evoque, it was the least expensive way to get into something bearing the green oval. The moniker's rebirth will also apply to "mainstream" products, this time pure-electric vehicles outside of JLR's or Chery's current lineups. What's more, the Freelander range won't be limited to China, although JLR wouldn't say how long it would be before international markets could expect Freelander arrival.

They new cars will be designed by teams from both automakers and sit on Chery's E0X battery-electric architecture. Car News China reports that the E0X can support an 800-volt architecture, Level 3 autonomous driving, and air suspension setups. The platform also plays nice with range-extended EVs, a powertrain type enjoying the same upswing in popularity over there as in other markets. Autocar writes that extended-range EV sales from January 2023 to September 2023 rose 157% over the same span in 2022.

Chery's Luxeed R7, above, sits on E0X bones. The Luxeed R7 EV comes in single- and dual-motor variants from 288 horsepower to 489 hp, and offers a maximum range of 531 miles on the Chinese cycle.

Previous to this new announcement, Chery said it would also share its M3X platform with the Chery Jaguar Land Rover collaboration, the vehicle structure said to have been developed with Magna International. The M3X is suited to internal combustion and PHEV powertrains. JLR's press release specifies that for now, Freelander will be "an advanced portfolio of electric vehicles," so it's possible future Freelanders will expand powertrain options once the electric lineup gains momentum, or the M3X might be applied to a different set of products.

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