How soon? Try 2025.
Land Rover will reportedly reveal an all-electric Defender in 2025, and it will reach customers the following year. This is despite the current generation debuting only in 2020. The news comes from Auto Express, which is claiming fully electric variants of the Defender 90, 110, and 130 are only a couple of years away as part of the SUV's midlife refresh. A Defender hybrid is also reportedly on its way as part of the automaker's electrification shift.
Here's where the report gets even more interesting: the EV switch will require a new platform. The Defender currently rides on Jaguar Land Rover's D7 Premium Lightweight Architecture, which apparently cannot support full electrification. Therefore, the Defender EV will switch to JLR's new MLA Flex platform, which can accommodate both electric and internal combustion engine powertrains.
MLA Flex already underpins the latest Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, both of which will also spawn fully-electric variants in 2024. What makes the Defender's midlife refresh quite unusual for the industry is the platform switch. That typically never happens. Instead, that's called a redesign. But things are a bit different here. The report states that the Defender's exterior design and dimensions won't change much.
The Discovery Sport previously made a platform switch to the automaker's Premium Transverse Architecture in 2019 for its own refresh without significant design alterations. The 2026 Defender will, however, come with several interior enhancements, specifically a larger infotainment screen.
But Land Rover knows not to mess too much with the dashboard layout since it's been very well received by consumers.
It would make sense for JLR to sell both Defender powertrains simultaneously as part of a greater electrification transition. Dropping the ICE version would probably alienate too many buyers too soon. It's still way too premature to know the Defender EV's technical details, but the 2024 Range Rover EV does offer a few clues.
Inside sources suggest it'll have a battery with around 100 kWh and a 300-mile range. Along with the Range Rover, Range Rover Sport, and Defender, the Discovery will also be going fully electric and, at the same, further upmarket. A launch date for the latter remains unknown.