Defender Goes Electric


In what can be viewed as a further sign of changing times, Land Rover will be unveiling a series of Defender EV prototypes in Geneva.

An electric vehicle may be fine for short-distance commuting between charging stations. But for off-roading you’ll want something that can get you out to the field and back again. That’s why the Land Rover Defender, though decades old, remains a favorite for off-roading enthusiasts. That hasn’t stopped Land Rover from developing an electric version of its soon-to-be-replaced truck, announcing that it’ll be bringing the prototype to the Geneva show next week.

The British automaker’s Advanced Engineering Team swapped the usual diesel engine you’d find in your average Defender with a 70kW electric motor that’s paired up with a 300-volt lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 27 kWh. The combination gives the SUV a range of more than 50 miles and it can handle low speed off-road use for up to eight hours before recharging, which takes four hours using a 7kW fast charger or 10 hours when using a portable 3kW charging unit. The battery itself weighs just over 900 lbs and is mounted under the hood in place of the diesel engine. All told, curb weight increases by only 220 lbs. over a conventionally-powered Defender 110.

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The Defender EV retains the regular model’s four-wheel-drive system along with a modified version of the company’s Terrain Response System. With a newfound wealth of instantly-available torque inherent in an EV, the transmission has just a single speed 2.7:1 reduction gea. As of now, the Defender EV remains a prototyoe, but Land Rover says it wants "to assess electric vehicles, even in the most arduous all-terrain conditions."