Up till now, electric vehicle technology has largely focused on urban transport that covers short distances. Automobile specialist Jonny Smith explains: “The rise of the electric vehicle couldn’t be more crucial within urban life, where journeys are often short, traffic is high and the need for clean air quality continues.” So, converting a Land Rover Defender, designed to traverse all terrains and cover long distances, was not going to be easy.
Transforming this classic off-road vehicle required the best brains in the industry, so we teamed up with Electric Classic Cars, the world leader in converting existing vehicles into more sustainable alternatives. Based in the rugged Welsh highlands, the company has helped some of the world’s largest organisations to reduce their carbon emissions for the past 20 years. Placed in their capable hands, our Defender was gutted: its diesel engine, fuel tank and exhaust removed and replaced by 16 Tesla Model S batteries. Balanced between the vehicle’s front and rear, these high-performance batteries supply 53 kilowatt-hours of power
The original Land Rover chassis was constructed using aluminium, an alternative for steel which was rationed during the World War II effort and its light-green paint was a hand-me-down from military planes. To refresh this iconic vehicle, we splashed on a shiny-new coat of paint in a light-mustard shade (a Selfridges favourite, naturally).