Earlier this year, Land Rover announced that a defender would be electrifying. Although the considerable British 4×4 may not seem like the most logical candidate for an electrical makeover, the first Electric Defender began his real-world tests last month in Cornwall, England, as part of an ongoing research program known as the "Eden Project".
The research project intends to explore electric power as an option for off-road vehicles. And as Range Rover prefer not to have their custom door panels, Land Rover Defender felt to be the ideal test subject. The project will see a fleet of six Electric Defenders placed with various organizations to assess their performance in the real world.
One of the many tests in Cornwall designed to put the firing power of the first electric Defender to the test saw him dragging a (13 ton), 12-ton road train consisting of four trailers filled with 60 Eden Project visitors. The vehicle demonstrated its electric worth by marching its way to a tilt test with a grade of 6 percent. But Defender 110, known as the "All Terrain Vehicle Electrical Investigations," still has enough power to hit 70 mph (112 km / h), maintaining its serious off-road condition.
Towing capacity aside, Land Rover is also very focused on the regenerative braking aspects of the electric 4×4. By participating in the slope descent control system of the manufacturer of descending steep slopes, Land Rover claims up to eighty percent of the vehicle's kinetic energy can be recovered. The Land Rover defender led headlights are tested as well. The initial figures of the Eden Project claiming up to 30 kW are fed back to the batteries through this type of regenerative braking. He currently has 10 hours to fully charge the vehicle's lithium-ion batteries, but the company says it will be possible to obtain this within four hours using "fast charge" technology.
With a reported range of 50 miles (80.5 km) and another of 12.5 miles (20 km) of reserve, the Electric Defender will not win any short range contest. However, this can be forgiven as the nature of the Defensor¨ªa and its mandate is more about browsing in the highlands at low speeds than long distance expeditions do.
Under slower off-road conditions, Land Rover reports that your test subject can easily go approximately eight hours of play in the peat swamp on a single charge. Turning on the Defender plug-in is a 70 kW (90 hp), high-torque electric motor that drives all wheels through a patented Land Rover permanent four-wheel drive system.
The Project Eden test vehicle also received a second battery in order to extend the test schedule, while improving vehicle stability and weight distribution. As Gizmag reported in February, Land Rover is unlikely to produce a fully electric thing in the short term, however, the British company has plans to launch some hybrid Range Rover models