Earlier this year, Land Rover announced plans to build and test an all-electric Defender 110. Headed by Antony Harper the project has progressed quickly and this month seven prototype eDefenders went into a comprehensive testing phase. Why the Defender platform was chosen over something a bit more advanced like the Evoke is really a matter of practicality and sound marketing. Not only is the Defender a beastly platform capable of shouldering the weight of the batteries and other unique components, it’s the iconic identity of Land Rover. It was also important to preserve the brand’s heritage by packaging this new technology in a proper offroad vehicle, and the Defender is certainly that.
Land Rover is quick to point out these seven Defenders are only rolling test vehicles and production of an all-electric offering of any kind is unlikely to arrive anytime soon. With the first round of testing complete, its obvious the concept is sound, but still has a great deal of development ahead.
With a range of just 50 miles, this is hardly the vehicle of choice for a lap of the globe, but the other numbers it generates are promising. The Electric Defender is capable of towing up to 13 tons with relative ease, and offroad performance is on par with previous iterations of the Defender. Able to recover up to 80% of its own kinetic braking energy and direct that power back to the batteries, the Electric Defender is surprisingly efficient when used in slow speed offroad conditions. Once drained of its juice, it can be fully charged in as little as four hours at a cost of under $4.00. Petrol heads may bemoan the advancement of the electric vehicle in its various forms, but there’s no mistaking that the future will undoubtedly include vehicles like the Electric Defender. How soon is the real question.