Instant torque feels delicious on the highway, but it could be an even bigger asset in an offroader. Land Rover has been experimenting with electric versions of its Defender 110 for a while now, and claims its latest prototypes benefit from a reduction in wheel spin due to the single-speed motor, making them more adept at climbing and less likely to churn up the environment. The prototypes don't necessarily stand out in terms of raw specs: they're 25 percent heavier than turbodiesel models, with lower horsepower and torque ratings, and with a range of just 50 miles. They try to make up for it in other ways, however, with the ability to deliver up to eight hours of slow, grueling off-road time, where range is secondary to staying upright, and by exploiting Land Rover's Hill Descent Control feature for faster recharging through regenerative braking. There's no plan to bring an EV Defender to market any time soon, or to run the Dakar gauntlet like some rivals have, but the prototypes are due to make appearance at the Geneva Motor Show before being tested for painful-sounding "specialist applications" later in the year.
Filed under: Transportation