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 The research vehicle’s standard diesel engine and gearbox have been replaced by a 70kW (94bhp), 330Nm electric motor twinned with a 300-volt, lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 27kWh, giving a claimed range of more than 50 miles.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.