The iconic Land Rover Defender is going electric as the latest generation model was unveiled at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show.
The rugged off-roader has been re-engineered to keep it relevant in the modern era of motoring with mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrain options alongside petrol and diesel engines. The PHEV powertrain, however, won’t be available at launch and will be introduced later in the year.
The Defender has been developed using its new D7x architecture, which is 95% new and is based on a lightweight aluminum monocoque for the stiffest body structure Land Rover has ever produced. It is three times stiffer than traditional body-on-frame designs, providing perfect foundations for the fully independent air or coil sprung suspension and supports the latest electrified powertrains. The lightweight will contribute towards the Defender’s efficiency, as well as the fact it has a flat underbody to optimize aerodynamics.
Land Rover hasn’t revealed the powertrain specifications for the MHEV or PHEV, however for the latter if it was to utilize the same hybrid powertrain seen in the Range Rover Sport P400 PHEV then customers can expect to see a pure electric driving range of between 25-30 miles.
“We’ve embraced Defender’s stunning capability and minimalistic, functional interior to reinvent the icon for the 21st century. New Defender gives us the license to do things differently, to push the boundaries and do the unthinkable, without ever losing the character and authenticity of the original. The result is not only the most capable Land Rover ever made, but also a truly comfortable, modern vehicle that people will love to drive,” said Nick Rogers, executive director, product engineering, Jaguar Land Rover.
Introducing battery power to the platform has meant Land Rover has performed extensive testing. The new Defender has been through more than 62,000 tests for engineering sign-off, while the chassis and body architecture have been engineered to withstand Land Rover’s Extreme Event Test procedure – repeated and sustained impacts, above and beyond the normal standard for SUV and passenger cars.
Traditionally, the Defender has always been a relatively technologically stripped-back affair, but now the new vehicle will feature new interior technology too with a new touchscreen display and Software-Over-The-Air technology updates.