Back in 2012, Land Rover unveiled a hybrid prototype version of the Range Rover at the Geneva Motor Show. Fast forward a year and it’s played a similar trick, this time rolling out an all-electric Defender prototype.
Known as the electric Defender EV, the farm-friendly monster has ditched the stalwart 2.2-litre diesel engine in favour of an electric motor capable of producing 70kW – about 94bhp – and 330Nm of torque.
The Defender EV’s electric motor is mated to a 300-volt, 27kWh lithium ion battery, which is small for an electric vehicle of this size (the minimum size on a Tesla Model S is 40kWh, for reference) but its enough to give the Defender a range of 50 miles or about eight hours of ‘low-speed off-road use’.
Said battery can be recharged in four hours via a 7kW fast charger or in 10 hours using a portable 3kW charger.
Land Rover has opted for a single speed 2.7:1 reduction gearbox instead of your usual five gear setup. Also new is a modified version of Land Rover’s Terrain Response System for maximising performance over harsh terrain.
Batteries usually add a considerable amount of weight to a car, and the unit in the Defender contributes a whopping 410kg – but it’s not as bad as you might think. The Defender EV weighs just 100kg more than a typical diesel-guzzling Defender 110. Depending on whether you opt for a hard top, pick-up or station wagon body style, the total weight varies between 2,055kg and 2,162kg.
Part of the weight saving has come from air-cooling the electric powertrain instead of using liquid, which has the added benefit of keeping the Defender relatively simple to maintain and service.
Although farmers keen to save costs on fuel will be licking their lips at the prospect of a Defender EV, Land Rover has said it will only make seven of them specifically for ‘real world trials’, which means the future of this particular electric 4×4 is uncertain. Just like our planet, then.