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Geneva 2013: Land Rover

  • Electric Defender delivers zero CO2 emissions
  • Heavier than 110, full charge takes eight hours
  • No plans for full production version

Written by Parkers editorial team Published: 5 March 2013 Updated: 5 March 2013

New car on show: Electric Defender

Electric Defender

Land Rover unveiled seven new electric Defender models delivering zero CO2 emissions.

The standard diesel engine and gearbox in the 110 Defenders have been replaced by a 70kW (94bhp), 330Nm electric motor twinned with a 300-volt, lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 27kWh. This gives a range of more than 50 miles.

A typical charge can last for up to eight hours before recharging but a 7kW fast charger takes four hours. A portable 3kW charger will take 10 hours to fully charge the vehicle.

It’s still a Defender at heart though because it still retains its four-wheel-drive system and differential lock. A modified version of Land Rover’s Terrain Response System has also been incorporated.

Extensive testing has been carried out in extreme conditions and trials included pulling a 12-tonne ‘road train’ up a 13% gradient and wading to a depth of 800mm.

The battery weighs 410kg meaning kerbweight is 100kg more than a basic Defender 110. The models range 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, to save weight.

Regenerative braking has been optimised to such an extent that when your are 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% 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.