Of course, anyone who wishes to turn their battered, farmyard workhorse into an electric Land Rover Defender will need to fork out money up-front. In the case of the Electrogenic kit, buyers will be looking at around £24k plus a bit more to get a suitably trained mechanic to fit it.
Despite that being the equivalent to buying a couple of additional Defenders in well-used condition, in typical day-to-day use in a working setting, Electrogenic reckons that owners can save up to £6000 per year in fuel and maintenance. Assuming similar figures, that’s a complete payback in around four years of use.
The Electrogenic team knows these figures are broadly accurate because it tested the Defender EV conversion kit around none other than Worthy Farm – site of the Glastonbury Festival – over the past 18 months.
Steve Drummond, co-founder of the company, said: “Defenders fitted with our kits do everything required of them on the farm quietly and efficiently. They are always there ready for use – just unplug and drive away; no more trips to the petrol station, and instant heat on cold frosty mornings. An electrified Defender can also represent one more step towards a farm achieving its sustainability goals.”
So, what does £24k buy you and how does it compare to a standard diesel Defender?
At the heart of the conversion is the 120bhp motor which also has a useful 173lb-ft of torque. Ensuring ease and cost-effectiveness, instead of the motor being axle-mounted and having a direct drive, it is bolted to the Defender’s existing gearbox bell housing. This means the original gears and four-wheel drive system is utilised keeping cost down and simplicity up. Towing isn’t compromised with low-range gearboxes still fully functional via the electric conversion.
Batteries total 52kWh of capacity and are stored in place of the Defender’s diesel engine under the bonnet. On the road, over 100 miles is possible – which is pretty dire – but around a farm at lower speeds, this increases significantly. What’s more, most working Defenders rarely cover more than 100 miles in a day. Being air cooled does bring a minor limitation in that a converted Defender can’t wade through deep water.
Another cost saving has come by limiting charging to 7.5kW, albeit faster charging can be added as an extra. This choice of longer dwell time, overnight charging is suited to vehicles that don’t typically leave the area they are used to work on.
It’s refreshing to see an EV conversion company taking a problem and instead of offering an overly gentrified solution, being pragmatic about what its customers really need. Drummond sums it up: “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 – long a trusty workhorse for farms up and down the country – an affordable new lease of life, reducing running costs while enhancing performance and driveability around the estate.”
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