Proving its capabilities
The first Land Rover Electric Defender has started work at the Eden Project in Cornwall, the Defender was unveiled earlier this year at the Geneva Motor Show and now in Cornwall it will proves its capabilities in a real world trial. The innovative 4x4 is a rolling laboratory to develop new ideas, and investigate electrification in a real-world environment; in fact a fleet of six vehicles will be placed with organisations where their performance can be assessed.
The Electric Defender has all the qualities and performance which have become associated with the Land Rover brand during the past sixty-five years. It has full all-terrain capability, permanent 4WD and a top speed of 70mph. The job of the Defender at the Eden Project is to tow the four-carriage twelve tonne road train carrying up to sixty passengers on a 6% incline to and from the iconic hexagonal-panelled domes. The vehicle has been designed to perform its duties throughout each day before being recharged over night for the approximate cost of only £2.00.
Jeremy Greenwood, Principal Engineer on the Electric Defender project, said the car was ideal for the sensitive ecology of the Eden Project. In addition, the repetitive nature of the work will provide excellent data for future electric vehicles. “The car has been modified so it now includes a second battery,” Jeremy explained. “That will allow it to work a full day at the Eden Project, but also improves weight distribution and stability. In addition, we’ve linked the land-train’s air brakes to the foot pedal of the Land Rover, enhancing safety.”
Gus Grand, Climate Change Lead at the Eden Project, said “we’re very pleased to be working with Land Rover on this exciting project. It will be a great talking point for our visitors and proves that electric vehicles can be every bit as tough and rugged as their fossil fuel counterparts, while being much quieter, cheaper to run and with zero emissions at the point of use.
Eight hours of low speed can be achieved
The Defender has been engineered in-house by Land Rover to test out the technologies. The Hill Descent Control is linked to a regenerative braking function, and overall up to 80 per cent of the car’s kinetic energy can be recovered. During each downhill trip at the Eden Project up to 30kW will be fed back into the batteries. Land Rover’s acclaimed Terrain Response system has also been adapted for electric drive, offering a fifty mile range with a reserve of a further 12.5 miles. This means that this first electric Defender can achieve eight hours of low speed off road use and will take approximately ten hours for the lithium-ion batteries to be fully recharged. It may be that ‘fast charge’ technology can reduce this to only four hours.