Electric Land Rover Defender Research Vehicle

Land Rover will unveil a new electric Land Rover Defender research vehicle at the Geneva Motor Show 2013. The news comes shortly after they announce they would premiere the 9-Speed ZF automatic transmission for the Range Rover models at this very same show. It’s engineered to deliver zero emissions whilst retaining legendary all-terrain capability. It has an innovative powertrain that combines a 70kw electric motor with lithium-ion battery pack.

What the Land Rover engineering team have done is replace the standard diesel engine and gearbox in the 110 Defenders with a 70kW (94bhp), 330Nm electric motor twinned with a 300-volt, lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 27kWh, giving a range of more than 50 miles. In typical, low speed off-road use it can last 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 Defender has eliminated gear shifting and now comprises a single speed, 2.7:1 reduction gearbox combined with the existing Defender four-wheel drive system and differential lock. This is because the electric motor delivers maximum torque from the moment it starts. A modified version of Land Rover’s Terrain Response System has also been incorporated.

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. All the major components in the electric powertrain – including the battery, inverter and motor – are air-cooled rather than liquid cooled, saving a considerable amount of weight and complexity and adding robustness.

To keep the spirit of the Defender alive, the vehicles’ capability have been tested in extreme and environmentally sensitive conditions, demonstrating capabilities not shared by conventional road-going EVs. Trials included pulling a 12-tonne ‘road train’ up a 13 percent gradient and wading to a depth of 800mm.

Electric Land Rover Defender Research Vehicle

Regenerative braking has been optimized to such an extent that using Hill Descent Control, the motor can generate 30kW of electricity. Because the battery technology can be charged very quickly at a rate of up to twice its capacity of 54kW without reducing battery life, almost all of the regenerated energy can be recovered and stored. Up to 80 percent of the kinetic energy in the vehicle can be recovered in this way, depending on conditions.

Although there are no plans for the all-terrain electric Defender to enter series production, the seven EVs will go into service in specialist real world trials later this year.


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