New ‘Drop-in’ Defender EV conversion kit

EV Defender 110 on farm

by Theo Ford-Sagers |

Converting your Defender to fully-electric power is getting easier, thanks to a new drop-in kit from a UK firm.

Oxfordshire-based Electrogenic has been testing its new Defender EV conversion on a farm for 18 months. The kit is compatible with any 90 or 110 up to 1998 (when the Td5 engine arrived), and promises to dramatically reduce running costs.

The 52kWh batteries are stored under the bonnet, enabling 173lb ft and 119bhp – comparable to a Tdi engine. They give a range of over 100 miles on-road, or 'considerably more when driving off-road or around a farm'.

Though road-legal, the conversion is being aimed at farmers and landowners (the firm has a high-voltage alternative for more road-biased applications). The original 4WD transmission is retained, and towing ability is said to be improved by the instant delivery of torque.

7.5kW AC charging will see the batteries restored to full charge overnight, but a faster charging option is also available.

Plug-in EV kit can be installed by 'a suitably qualified mechanic'.

Time for some maths...

Electrogenic says the average farm will recoup the £24,000+VAT purchase cost of the EV conversion in four years. That claim seems a little strong at first, as £24k of diesel equates to 60k miles at 23mpg paying £2 per litre. But the claim is less wild considering the reduced maintenance costs that an EV drivetrain can offer. This kit is said to be 'entirely maintenance-free, and operate happily for decades, while the batteries are similarly robust: good for 200,000 miles or more'. Electrogenic also says that farm vehicles spend long periods sitting at idle, using fuel.

Compared with the six-figure sums required for more complete conversions (by Twisted or Electric Classic Cars, for example) Electrogenic's relatively down-to-earth option is definitely more attainable.

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 around the estate.

'After an extensive development programme, in partnership with automotive experts at Cardiff University, we also know that it future-proofs the traditional Defender, readying it for decades of reliable, sustainable service as we enter the age of low-carbon agriculture. [...] An electrified Defender can also represent one more step towards a farm achieving its sustainability goals.'

Electrogenic plans to begin deliveries of its Defender EV conversion kit in October.

Electric powertrains can offer excellent towing potential, thanks to instant torque.
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