In Cornwall, England, there is an environmentally-friendly plant research site that is the perfect place to test the Land Rover Electric Defender 110, a prototype electric truck.
Part of the appeal of electric vehicles is their zero-emissions powertrain. In order to squeeze every mile of range out of the lightest batteries possible, electric vehicles are built to reduce drag, including rolling resistance, aerodynamic drag, overall vehicle weight, and drivetrain drag. What would happen if you applied the same technology to an electric truck?
In order to find out, Land Rover has built six prototype Electric Defender 110 electric trucks. These trucks don’t benefit from any aerodynamic or weight tuning, but maintain their off-road and towing capabilities. How will they fare in the real world?
Land Rover’s first prototype electric truck has gone to the Eden Project, in Cornwall, where it is being used to tow the visitor train. The visitor train weighs 24,000lb, and the road it travels is, at some points, as much as a 6% grade. With a single 70kW electric motor generating 243lb•ft of torque, the Electric Defender 110 has no problem with the load.
Sure, it can move 24,000lb, but how far can this electric truck pull visitors around the Eden Project? With the current single-battery configuration, Land Rover says the Electric Defender 110 has up to 62mi range, and that the dual-battery configuration should effectively double that. On the Eden Project circuit, the single-battery Electric Defender 110 needs to be recharged after about eight hours.
Pulling 24,000lb, the electric truck would get no benefit from aerodynamic tweaks or weight-saving measures, so the range and power aspects of the Electric Defender 110 are pretty encouraging. Of course, regenerative braking returns some power to the battery, but Land Rover’s gone one better and integrated regenerative braking into a downhill-assist function, recovering up to 30kW on each trip.