Automotive

Land Rover's first Electric Defender put through its paces

Land Rover's first Electric De...
An Electric Defender is the subject of an ongoing Land Rover research program known as the "Eden Project"
An Electric Defender is the subject of an ongoing Land Rover research program known as the "Eden Project"
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The Electric Defender showed its worth by hauling a 12-tonne road train up a 6 percent incline
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The Electric Defender showed its worth by hauling a 12-tonne road train up a 6 percent incline
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Eden Project Defenders receive a second battery in order to extend testing hours and enhance vehicle stability and weight distribution
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Eden Project Defenders receive a second battery in order to extend testing hours and enhance vehicle stability and weight distribution
Electric Defender retains manufacturer's all wheel drive system with permanent four-wheel drive and Hill Descent system
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Electric Defender retains manufacturer's all wheel drive system with permanent four-wheel drive and Hill Descent system
Defender can recover up to 80 percent of its kinetic energy through regenerative braking during downhill descents
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Defender can recover up to 80 percent of its kinetic energy through regenerative braking during downhill descents
Eden Project claim up to 30 kW can be recovered through Land Rover's regenerative braking system
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Eden Project claim up to 30 kW can be recovered through Land Rover's regenerative braking system
Electric Defender has a reported range of 50 miles (80.5 km) with a 12 mile (20 km) reserve
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Electric Defender has a reported range of 50 miles (80.5 km) with a 12 mile (20 km) reserve
Land Rover will continue to test its electric Defender program under the guise of Project Eden in Cornwall, England
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Land Rover will continue to test its electric Defender program under the guise of Project Eden in Cornwall, England
Electric Defender retains its legendary off-road capabilities just like its gas powered sibling
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Electric Defender retains its legendary off-road capabilities just like its gas powered sibling
Defender can be recharged in ten hours, or Fast-charged in four
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Defender can be recharged in ten hours, or Fast-charged in four
Defender's electric engine develops 70 kW of power or 90 bhp giving it a top speed of 70 mph (112 km/h)
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Defender's electric engine develops 70 kW of power or 90 bhp giving it a top speed of 70 mph (112 km/h)
An Electric Defender is the subject of an ongoing Land Rover research program known as the "Eden Project"
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An Electric Defender is the subject of an ongoing Land Rover research program known as the "Eden Project"
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Earlier this year, Land Rover announced it would be electrifying a Defender. Although the hefty British 4x4 may not seem like the most logical candidate for an electric makeover, the first Electric Defender began its real world tests this past month at the Eden Project in Cornwall, England.

One of the many trials at Cornwall designed to put the first Electric Defender’s pulling power to the test saw it hauling a 12-tonne (13-ton) road train made up of four trailers stuffed with 60 Eden Project visitors. The vehicle showed its electric worth by marching its way up a test incline with a 6 percent grade. But the Defender 110, known as the “All Terrain Electric Research Vehicle,” still has enough power to hit 70 mph (112 km/h) while retaining its status as a serious off-roader.

The Electric Defender showed its worth by hauling a 12-tonne road train up a 6 percent incline
The Electric Defender showed its worth by hauling a 12-tonne road train up a 6 percent incline

Towing capabilities aside, Land Rover is also heavily focused on the regenerative braking aspects of the electric 4x4. When engaging the manufacturer’s Hill Descent Control system to descend steep embankments, Land Rover claims up to eighty percent of the vehicle's kinetic energy can be recovered. Initial figures from the Eden Project claim up to 30 kW is being fed back to the batteries through this regenerative braking method. It currently takes 10 hours to fully charge the vehicle's lithium-ion batteries, but the company claims it will be possible to get this down to four hours using "fast-charge" technology.

With a reported range of 50 miles (80.5 km) and a further 12.5-mile (20 km) reserve, the Electric Defender won’t win any range contests anytime soon. However, this can be forgiven as the Defender’s nature and mandate is more about mucking about in the highlands at low speeds than it is about long distance expeditions.

Under slower, off-road conditions, Land Rover reports their test subject can easily go eight hours playing about in the peaty bog on a single charge. Powering the plug-in Defender is a 70 kW (90 bhp), high-torque electric motor that powers all the wheels through Land Rover’s patented permanent four-wheel drive system.

The test vehicle also received a second battery in order to extend testing hours, while enhancing the vehicle’s stability and weight distribution. As Gizmag reported back in February, it's unlikely Land Rover will produce an all-electric anything anytime soon, however, the British company has plans to release some hybrid Range Rover models soon.

Source: Land Rover

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8 comments
idp
is it waterproof?!!
Milton
This thing would be AWESOME at MOAB. W/ a 50 mile range (+12 mile "reserve") you could traverse pretty much all the trails. Then when you consider the 80% effective regen-braking, I wouldn't be surprised if you could pump that range up even further. Regardless, 50 miles of Moab trail would be an all-day event.
If it were mine I'd probably gear it to go 55 or 60 mph though. Get me some more of that awesome electric TORQUE.
Very cool.
BeWalt
Gas cars need air. Electrics don't. Finally, no more snorkels for off-roaders, other than one for the driver.
Allright I won't take a prototype for a wade through a stream. But once I can buy an electric Jeep or a Tacoma, I'll go snorkeling.
And yes to the torque! No such thing as enough torque especially when crawling.
Slowburn
Just wait until the battery looses half of its capacity.
Milton
@Slowburn: You may be waiting 10-15 years for that.
Slowburn
re; Milton Have you ever used rechargeable batteries.
Oztechi
I wonder if anyone will start producing a kit or converted version of the Defender for sale. The current specification listed above would be suitable for some people and situations.
moollar
@slowburn
I think you're being overly pessimistic in the case of properly managed battery systems:
http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1085580_battery-life-in-tesla-roadster-is-likely-better-than-predicted
That's from their first go at it. I imagine the Model S will be even better and future cars from Tesla to be better again. Either way, Milton's prediction is likely far more accurate than your dire assumption (assuming, of course, a properly managed battery system is used).
p.s. It's spelt "loses", not "looses".