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2013-02-28 08:59

4X4 ICON BECOMES AN EV: Zero emissions meets off-road prowess, Land Rover will unveil its future electric Defender range at the 2013 Geneva International Motor Show.

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LONDON, England - Land Rover will unveil seven new electric Defender models at the 2013 Geneva International Motor Show.

John Edwards, Land Rover Global Brand Director, said: “Investing in innovation has always been the lifeblood of our business and our engineering teams are working hard to develop innovative new technology to provide sustainable motoring solutions.”


The standard diesel engine and gearbox in the 110 Defenders have been replaced by a 70kW/330Nm electric motor twinned with a 300-volt lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 27kWh. The automaker claims the battery Defenders have a range of over 80km.

During 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 vehicles (EVs) retain the Defender’s legendary four-wheel drive system and differential lock.

Since the electric motor delivers maximum torque from the moment it starts, there’s no need for gear shifting and the transmission comprises a single speed, 2.7:1 reduction gearbox combined with the existing four-wheel drive system.

A modified version of Land Rover’s Terrain Response System has also been incorporated.

The vehicles were developed by Land Rover’s advanced engineering team following successful trials of the Defender-based electric vehicle - Leopard 1. The vehicles’ capability has been tested in extreme conditions, demonstrating capabilities not shared by conventional road-going EVs.

During trials, the model pulled a 12-tonne “road train” up a 13% gradient and wading to a depth of 800mm.

The battery weighs 410kg and is mounted at the front in place of the diesel engine. Kerb weight is 100kg more than a basic Defender 110 and ranges from 2055kg to 2162kg depending on the body style.


All the major components in the electric powertrain, including the battery, inverter and motor, are air-cooled rather than liquid cooled. Regenerative braking has been optimised to such an extent that while using Hill Descent Control, the motor can generate 30kW.

Since the battery can be charged 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% of the kinetic energy in the vehicle can be recovered in this way.

Antony Harper, Jaguar Land Rover Head of Research, said:  “This project is acting as a rolling laboratory for Land Rover to assess electric vehicles, even in the most arduous all-terrain conditions.

“It gives us a chance to evolve and test some of the technologies that may one day be introduced into future Land Rover models.”

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 in 2013.

Check out the latest models in our Geneva show section.

Read more on:    ev  |  land rover  |  battery

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