Land Rover has built a prototype electric version of its Defender four-wheel-drive off-road utility vehicle, the descendant of the original Land Rover.
Yet another automotive icon is going electric. Land Rover has built a prototype electric version of its Defender four-wheel-drive off-road utility vehicle, the descendant of the original Land Rover, which has appeared in hundreds of African wildlife documentaries since its 1948 launch.
The standard diesel engine has been replaced by a 70 kW (94 bhp), 330 Nm electric motor. The air-cooled 300 volt lithium-ion battery weighs 410 kg, and is mounted in the front in place of the diesel engine. It has a capacity of 27 kWh, which offers a range of “more than 50 miles.” The EV version retains the Defender’s famous four-wheel drive system and differential lock, combined with a single-speed 2.7:1 reduction gearbox.
Land Rover has tested the electric Defender in extreme and environmentally sensitive conditions, demonstrating capabilities that you won’t find in a typical commuter’s city car, such as pulling a 12-ton “road train” up a 13 percent gradient, and wading to a depth of 800 mm.
“This project is acting as a rolling laboratory for Land Rover to assess electric vehicles, even in the most arduous all-terrain conditions. It gives us a chance to evolve and test some of the technologies that may one day be introduced into future Land Rover models,” said Antony Harper, Jaguar Land Rover Head of Research.
Land Rover has no plans to put the Electric Defender into production, but it has built seven units, which will go into service in specialist applications later this year.