Putting an electric motor into an SUV might seem like a foolish idea because SUVs need power to negotiate slippery and rugged conditions and as they’re off-roaders they aren’t necessary used in places where electricity is instantly available, but as that hasn’t stopped Land Rover from developing the Land Rover Electric Defender.
The car isn’t being tested under the normal conditions you would expect a prototype to be put through like snow covered roads, sand covered hills and test track facilities away from the public gaze, it’s being used at the Eden Project near St Austell in Cornwall. This is an SUV that the world got a first look at during the 2013 Geneva Motor Show and one that’s been created to help Land Rover reach its sustainability targets.
There are six Electric Defenders on the Cornish site and each will be assess over a number of months. The electric power has taken nothing away from the car’s off road capabilities and so far its reliability hasn’t been questioned. It has a top speed of just 70mph but that will be more than enough to drag along a 12 tonne train of carriages with 60 passengers inside.
The best part for the Eden Project isn’t the attention these machines are bring to their site or the work they are doing while there, but the low costs attached to using electric powered vehicles. Each Defender can be recharged overnight in less than 10 hours and costs just £2.00 per vehicle.
Things are working out well for the Electric Defender so far, “We’re very pleased to be working with Land Rover on this exciting project,” said Gus Grand, Climate Change Lead at the Eden Project. “This 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.”