Question is, can it rock crawl?
Set to make its debut sometime next year, the all-new Land Rover Defender has some big shoes to fill given its iconic predecessor, but it also needs to be 21st century SUV. According to Australia’s Motoring (who learned this information from a secret Jaguar Land Rover internal source), that new Defender will also be offered as pure EV alongside the familiar internal combustion versions. And no, we’re not talking about a mild hybrid or plug-in hybrid, but a fully-fledged EV with a powerful battery pack.
This makes sense given Jaguar Land Rover’s previously stated commitment to electrify every model in its lineup by 2020. However, the new Defender EV option will not be the automaker’s first production pure EV. That honor will go to the upcoming Road Rover and related sub-brand. Expect to see both the Road Rover and Defender EV be powered by the same (or very similar) battery pack and electric motors from the also upcoming Jaguar I-Pace, itself due for a spring 2018 arrival. Based on what we know about the I-Pace, the Defender EV will be quite powerful, but the big question will be its off-road capabilities. That’s the main reason why people by Defenders in the first place.
But Land Rover also has a huge opportunity here to prove whether it’s possible for a pure EV and hardcore off-road capabilities can truly go hand-in-hand. The Bollinger B1, a pure off-roader EV, is really the only other example out there right now that supposedly combines both. However, the Bollinger will be built limited numbers whereas Land Rover wants the next Defender range (including the EV) to sell at least 100,000 units annually.