Land Rover unveils electric Defender

Land Rover could be the latest manufacturer to try and muscle in on the electric vehicle (EV) market after it revealed a fleet of environmentally-friendly Defender models at the Geneva Motor Show.

Seven Defenders bowed onto the international stage in Switzerland, with Land Rover saying they were still in the early stages of testing electric car technology.

Each prototype featured 94bhp generated through an electric motor, with the Land Rover's reputable four-wheel drive system intact in the electric models.

The Warwickshire-based manufacturer said each model is packed with enough batteries to provide around eight hours of low-speed zero-emission off-roading, roughly translated to 50 miles on-road driving.

Land Rover has released the seven concepts in pick-up, hard-top and station wagon body styles in an attempt to break away from the controversial style-focused DC100 concepts associated with previous models.

The Defender EVs are capable of recharging in less than four hours using a 7kW fast-charger or 10 hours using a 3kW portable charger. Despite the off-roader concept weighing around 100kg more than a standard diesel model, all electric components are reportedly air-cooled to save weight and 'add robustness'.

Land Rover has tinkered with its Terrain Response system to provide the Defender All-Terrain Electric vehicles with the same capabilities as diesel versions to cross any terrain. Reports also suggested that it can wade through up to 800mm of water and is also capable of pulling a 12-tonne road train up a 13% gradient climb, should it need to.

The Defender All-Terrain EVs are fitted with specifically-tuned energy recovery technology to reclaim vast amounts of energy, which uses a motor to recycle 30kW of electricity back into the batteries.

Up to 80% of kinetic energy can be reclaimed using this method, which could make these concepts one of the most energy-efficient means of transport anywhere in the world if they go into production at a later date.

However, Land Rover currently has no plans to put the Defender All-Terrain EV into production and claimed 'specialist' real-world trials are poised to start across the globe later this year.

Antony Harper, Land Rover's head of research, said: "This project is acting as a rolling laboratory for Land Rover to assess electric vehicles, even in the most arduous all-terrain conditions.

"It gives us a chance to evolve and test some of the technologies that may one day be introduced into future Land Rover models."

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