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Land Rover Launches Electric Defender

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On: Wed, May 11, 2011 at 10:50AM | By: Chris Weiss

Land Rover Launches Electric Defender

Think you have range anxiety when it comes to well-serviced stretches of local highway? Imagine being stranded by a drained battery deep within the African savanna, leaving you among lions, hippos, and other fierce animals. Not to put a damper on Land Rover's new launch, but that's something that has to be in the back of your mind when it comes to the new Defender EV.

Designed specifically for use in South African game reserves, the Electric Defender Game Viewer Concept Vehicle was developed in conjunction with lithium-ion manufacturer Axeon and Barker Performance, a Land Rover specialist. The model trades out the usual 2.4-liter diesel engine for a 193-hp electric motor wired to a 28.8 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The combo promises about 55 miles of range.

An electric Safari off-roader may seem like a recipe for demise and destruction, but Land Rover says that the near-silent electric motor is optimal when tracking game and driving up close. Despite looking way more modest than what I'd like to see when driving around Africa, the 55-mile range is described as about three times the range of a typical game hunt, which should make it more than ample.

"The Electric Game Viewer Concept is the perfect synergy of the Defender's outstanding reputation as the definitive game viewing vehicle, as well as our drive to reduce emissions," Kevin Flynn, managing director of Jaguar Land Rover South Africa and Sub-Sahara Africa, explained in a press release.

The electric Defender was launched as a concept at the South African tourism INDABA in Durban, South Africa. Despite promises of ample range and better hunting, I'd kind of hope a production version is put off until battery technology has advanced to the point of offering more robust driving ranges. I sure wouldn't want to be out in the wilds of Africa in a vehicle that just traded an efficient diesel engine for a 55-mile electric.


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