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Electric Land Rover Defender


Going off-road isn’t something that one would think electric vehicles are yet capable of, however Land Rover are planning to dispel that myth at next week’s Geneva Motor Show where they will show off seven Land Rover Electric Defender research cars.

This is one of the manufacturer’s most significant technological undertakings, and they’ve started by swapping out the standard Defender diesel powertrain for a 70kW/330Nm electric motor, alongside a 27kWh lithium-ion battery and a single-speed transmission.

The four-wheel-drive system is something that has not changed however, and considering that we’re working with an electric motor now it will be fed peak torque from the moment the throttle is pressed. Also not changing is the car’s standard differential lock. The Electric Defender will feature a modified version of Land Rover’s Terrain Response system, designed to maximize traction in all conditions.

According to the company, their electric prototype has managed to prove capable of traversing extreme and environmentally sensitive conditions, such as pulling a 12-tonne road train up a 13 percent gradient and wading to a depth of 800mm during the tests.

Even though the driving range is approximated to somewhere around 80km, the carmaker says that the battery can last for up to eight hours in low-speed off-road conditions, and a full recharge will take four hours from a fast charger and ten hours from a portable one.

Since we’re talking of the battery pack, it weights a whopping 401kg, but even with this massive amount of weight, the Defender EV is only 100kg heavier than the standard Defender 110 wagon. Some of the weight was saved by cooling all the major components with air, instead of liquid.

The Electric Defender program has been acting as a sort of rolling laboratory for the company in its work on assessing the potential of the EVs in off-road conditions.

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