Coventry-based automotive specialist RDM Group was in the spotlight in Geneva, after helping Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) develop and build seven Electric Defender research vehicles.
RDM worked with CAD engineers from the Land Rover to transform initial concept designs into an all-terrain vehicle that produces zero emissions.
This included providing mechanical installation solutions, main battery installation development and data logging technology so vehicle information could be accessed remotely via GSM.
“We have a long-standing relationship with JLR and were approached to see if we would be interested in converting the vehicles,” explained Les Brighouse, principal design engineer at RDM. “It was a concept that really excited us and suited our expertise.”
He went on to add: “The regular diesel engine has been substituted for a 70kw electric motor capable of 243lb-ft of torque – this is powered by a 300-volt lithium-ion battery.”
“We’ve also provided modifications to the vehicle wiring harness, installation design of diesel fired heater systems, new instrument pack dedicated to electrical displays and a watchdog safety control ECU.”
The Land Rover Electric Defender retains the original and proven 4×4 drivetrain, allowing it to still wade through 80cm of water and pull a 12 tonne road train up a 13% incline from a standing start.
Regenerative braking has been added so the Defender can recharge its battery on downhill off road sections. This helps to make the vehicle capable of running up to 8 hours off road on a single charge.
The seven Land Rover Electric Defenders will now go into real life trials across some of the world’s roughest terrains.
David Keene, Chairman at RDM Group, concluded: “The project is an important step forward in our long-term vision to offer a dedicated low volume vehicle converter/build facility for car makers.”
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