Land Rover reveals Electric-powered Defender 110 research fleet

By Editors on March 1, 2013 7:38 AM
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The world's most renowned manufacturer of go-anywhere vehicles has announced an expansion of its involvement in sustainable engineering with the unveiling of a new test fleet of electric-powered Defender 110 models. Set for public reveal in Geneva, each of the vehicles in this zero-emissions group of seven developed by Land Rover's Advanced Engineering Team has seen it's normal diesel engine and transmission replaced with a 94-hp electric motor that makes 243 lb-ft of peak torque. Energized by a 27kWh lithium-ion battery pack mounted up front, these Defender 110 EVs can travel up to 50 miles on a single charge. Land Rover claims they can carry on up to eight hours under typical, low speed off-road conditions and that recharging takes about four hours on a 7kW fast charger or 10 on a portable 3kW charger.

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While ensuring these experimental Land Rovers tread even more lightly from an environmental standpoint, the Defender 110 EVs have lost none of their legendary ability to get down and dirty. Because the electric motor makes all of its torque from zero revs, the conventional transmission has been replaced by a single-speed unit fitted with a 2.7:1 reduction gear and the controller on the multi-mode Terrain Response System has been modified to accommodate the new package. Beyond that, the vehicles retain Land Rover's standard 4-wheel-drive system and differential lock. While the EV powertrain makes them particularly well suited to things like rock climbing and negotiating more challenging trail venues, the basic testing regimen included towing a 24,000-pound "road-train" up a 13-percent grade and wading through a 31.5-inch deep water hazard. No word yet on where or when this EV powertrain package will be fitted to a Land Rover/Range Rover model for the consumer market.