The first Electric Defender has started real-world trials at the Eden Project, a sort of environmental theme park near St Austell in Cornwall, UK. Land Rover calls the Electric Defender “a rolling laboratory to develop new ideas and investigate electrification in a real-world environment.” A fleet of six vehicles will be placed with various organizations to assess their performance.
The Defender 110 “effortlessly” tows the four-carriage, 12-ton road train carrying up to 60 passengers on a 6% incline to and from the Eden Project’s famous hexagonal-panelled domes. It has all-terrain capability, permanent 4WD, a top speed of 70 mph, and a 50-mile range with a reserve of a further 12.5 miles, according to Land Rover. It can operate for up to eight hours in low-speed off-road use, and charges its lithium-ion batteries overnight at a cost of about £2.
The vehicle’s Hill Descent Control is linked to a regenerative braking function, which can recover up to 80 per cent of the car’s kinetic energy.
Jeremy Greenwood, the vehicle’s principal engineer, said that the repetitive nature of the work will provide excellent data for future electric vehicles. “The car has been modified so it now includes a second battery,” he said. “That will allow it to work a full day at the Eden Project, but also improves weight distribution and stability. In addition, we’ve linked the land-train’s air brakes to the foot pedal of the Land Rover, enhancing safety.”
The Eden Project’s Gus Grand said, “[This project] proves that electric vehicles can be every bit as tough and rugged as their fossil fuel counterparts, while being much quieter, cheaper to run and with zero emissions at the point of use.”
Source: Land Rover