Land Rover Defender Gets an Aftermarket Electric Overhaul

Land Rover Defender Gets an Aftermarket Electric Overhaul

When you think of vehicles, there are certain types that you’d instantly think were suitable for electrification, like milk floats for example, where the vehicle only performs short runs that are close to its base. There are other types that you’d think were much less suitable, such as company rep type cars that have to go long distances every day, and where the owner would often be in hotels without charging points overnight. At first thought, you’d possibly say heavy duty vehicles intended for farming and the countryside would probably fall into the latter category. However, those vehicles don’t often travel far from base, and most trips they will take are short, so electrification might just be ideal.

The signature vehicle of the countryside, at least in the UK, is the Land Rover Discovery. Land Rover have launched a plug-in hybrid version of the Discovery, but a full electric version isn’t planned to be available for another two years. For owners that can’t wait that long and feel they may want to save money on fuel and help the environment, one company has brought electrification to existing Discoveries with a drop-in kit. Electrogenic’s kit will convert working Land Rover Defenders to fully-electric power. The conversion kit has been in development and extensively tested over the past 18 months on Worthy Farm, host of the Glastonbury Festival.

The kit can be installed by a suitably qualified mechanic. An electric motor is simply bolted to the Defender’s existing clutch bell housing, so the vehicle keeps all its gears. It offers 120 bhp and 235 Nm of torque – comparable to the original diesel engine. 52kWh of batteries are mounted under the bonnet to provide over 100 miles of range on-road and more when driving off-road or around a farm. The kit can be charged overnight through a 7.5kW AC Type 2 connector. Faster charging is also available as an optional extra.

Electrogenic conversions retain the original Defender’s four-wheel-drive, while off-road ability is improved by the fitting of the electric motor. Towing capability is helped by the electric motor’s instant torque, and dual-stage regenerative braking allows ultra-controlled, brake-free off-road descents.

Steve Drummond, Electrogenic co-founder, said, “We do high-specification conversions for road-warriors, but this kit is all about giving landowners an economic, sustainable option. It’s easy to install and uses Electrogenic’s proprietary technology. It gives Land Rover Defenders an affordable new lease of life, reducing running costs while enhancing performance and driveability. After an extensive development programme, in partnership with automotive experts at Cardiff University, we also know that it future-proofs the traditional Defender.”

It is estimated that the electric version will save at least £6,000 in fuel costs over the course of an average year of on-farm use, paying for itself within four years at its target price of £24,000. The EV conversion can also bring significant benefits in terms of wider running-costs. The electric powertrain is designed to be entirely maintenance-free and operate for decades, and the batteries have an expected lifetime of over 200,000 miles.