Finally, an Affordable Defender EV Conversion Kit?

·3 min read
Photo credit: Electrogenic
Photo credit: Electrogenic
  • Electrogenic announces an electric conversion kit for classic Land Rover Defender vehicles for £24,000, or about $29,500.

  • The kit is designed to bolt in easily, along with a 52-kWh battery, which will give the Defenders a range of about 100 miles.

  • The kit is aimed at Defenders still in farm use, as a way to keep older machines working for years to come, but without the fuel expenditures.

There is no shortage of companies at the moment that will convert a classic Land Rover Defender to an EV for a six-figure sum, but at last there is something at the other end of the price spectrum. A new EV conversion kit for classic Land Rover Defender designed to be installed by a suitably qualified mechanic promises emissions free driving for a fraction of the price of other conversions, and it's meant to bolt right in with minimal modifications.

Electrogenic is behind this new "drop in" kit, which features an electric motor designed to be bolted to the existing clutch bell housing in the Defender, offering 120 hp and 174 lb-ft of torque. A 52-kWh battery, meanwhile, fits underhood in place of the engine, promising 100 miles of range. The system permits 7.5-kW AC charging, but hardware for faster charging standards will also be offered as an option. Regenerative braking is a standard feature, on the other hand.

The kit is nominally aimed at owners who use their Defenders on the farm, which tend to be diesels in Europe, keeping older machines running decades after they were built.

"We do high-specification conversions for road-warriors, but this kit is all about giving landowners an economic, sustainable option," said Steve Drummond, Electrogenic co-founder. "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 drivability around the estate."

Photo credit: Electrogenic
Photo credit: Electrogenic

The kit has a target price of £24,000, or about $29,500, which represents a serious discount off the conversions offered by other coachbuilders at the moment. Part of the reason is the smaller battery, and also the approach of adding electric motors to the existing clutch bell housing, as this is effectively a cassette conversion approach rather than something requiring more modifications. This kit also doesn't go crazy on horsepower, with some others offering up to 600 hp in the old Defender. After all, these are aimed at working trucks rather than something for the posh parts of London.

The company says that owners will be able to save at least £6,000 ($7300) in fuel costs over the course a year of farm work, allowing for the conversion to pay for itself in four years. This is certainly a reflection of fuel costs in the UK to some degree, and assumes quite a bit of weekly usage that classic Defenders in the US just don't see to begin with. But it's difficult to argue with the price of the kit.

Of course, will owners of old Defenders in farm use be willing to invest another $30,000 in an EV conversion kit, versus buying a new or used truck of some sort? That purchase decision will still have to compete with other items that could be needed, with owners simply waiting for a greater variety of new EV trucks to appear in a few years.

Curiously, Land Rover itself is not in a hurry to offer an electric Defender, or an electric Defender pickup for matter, so this particular niche in the UK will be without EV competitors for quite some time, as most EV trucks will debut solely stateside in a few years. This goes for the Tesla Cybertruck as well, so we wouldn't hold our breath for an RHD version at any point.