News : Land Rover unveils electric Defender for Geneva

Keith Adams


Land Rover is unveiling seven new electric Defender models at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. The research vehicle’s standard diesel engine and gearbox have been replaced by a 70kW (94bhp), 330Nm electric motor twinned with a 300-volt, lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 27kWh, giving a claimed range of more than 50 miles.

According to Land Rover, the electric Defender will be able to be used in typical, low speed off-road use for up to eight hours before recharging. The battery can be fully charged by a 7kW fast charger in four hours, or a portable 3kW charger in 10 hours. The electric system is suited to this type of driving, as its maximum torque is delivered at zero revs, and throttle control is exceptionally accurate.

The concept car’s transmission is comprised of a single speed, 2.7:1 reduction gearbox combined with the existing Defender four-wheel drive system. A modified version of Land Rover’s Terrain ResponseSystem is also fitted.

The vehicles were developed by Land Rover’s Advanced Engineering Team following successful trials of the Defender-based electric vehicle, Leopard 1. And they have already been extensively tested – trials included pulling a 12-tonne ‘road train’ up a 13 percent gradient and wading to a depth of 800mm.

The battery weighs 410kg and is mounted in the front of the Defender in place of the diesel engine. Kerb weight is 100kg more than a basic Defender 110 and ranges from 2055kg to 2162kg depending whether the body style is a pick-up, hard top or station wagon.

Land Rover says that there are currently no plans for production, but the electric Defender’s suitability as a hard-core off-roader, and the sheer amount of testing that’s been undertaken with this car would suggest that it’s a little more than a rolling test-bed. Expect this technology to roll-out and appear in your showroom within the next few years.


Keith Adams


  1. I think this is an ace idea.

    lots of farmers use a 4×4 in and around thier farm, do some towing (3.5 tonnes is not a full trailer full!)

    But most farmers dont need a huge range, and get cheapo electricity as they use lots of it. [Esp dairy farmers]

    This is true both here and abroad.

    These are proper commercial vehicles that are built to work hard. I know of many owners with 300TDi engines that have done lots of miles.

    300K +

    Off road these are king

    This is one British niche product that is the best.

  2. As long as any production version doesn’t have the same problem with lithium ion batteries like the Boeing Dreamliner… 😀

  3. wonder if you can get em with a v8 burble sound recorded to play as it goes along? lol fool everbody… wish i had that line up in the pic on the drive one for every other day.

  4. IM not sure I would want one (just give me the SC-AJV8 one Ill be happy then) but I agree it might be just the ticket for farms (to the milking shed and back and a bit of stop start cattle herding and local “county” work. alex

  5. @1 Yes, it’s still 4 wheel drive.

    I understand that one of the potential sales areas is the African safari market, where silent operation is a big plus point and the green credentials help bring in the punters.

  6. @ RED BARON. Thank you, I was hoping somebody would notice that 😉

    @ Lnadyboy. Thanks for that.

  7. Hope the electrics are given a high IP (ingress protection) rating- Deafener electrics don’t have the best reputation on the standard car…

  8. There is clearly a market for one. I just hope JLR keep developing it, and make it a production reality

  9. Great idea and if they can increase the battery range a bit or put in a range extender engine a world beeter.

  10. We all know the current Defender is ending production,so this project is clearly a mule.
    Comments that ‘hope it goes into production’ are therefore a bit daft!
    The new Defender will certainly be a candidate for this all-electric drivetrain though.

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