• May 23rd 2008 at 8:31AM
  • 7
click on the image above to enlarge

We have a few reservations about Liberty Electric Cars' plan to convert Range Rovers to extended-range Rovers in the U.K. While we applaud the idea of using electric vehicles in urban environments, it seems a little counter-productive to start with a large, heavy 4x4 like the Range Rover. Still, if the company is able to pull of its stated goal of creating 250 jobs along with "tens of thousands" of electric vehicles, we're all for it. To make this rather ambitious goal a reality, Liberty has invested £30 million into the "re-engineering" of the Rovers. A brand new electric drivetrain is being worked up, which is said to allow up to 200 miles of range on electricity alone for the Liberty Range Rover. Pricing starts at £95,000, and for £125,000, the company can fit the Landie with a range-extending generator, which makes the machine similar in concept to the much-hyped Chevy Volt. For those who can afford a $187,000 to $246,000 USD all-electric SUV, this is great news. For the rest of us, we hope these large electric luxury machines will allow for the adoption of smaller, lighter and therefore less expensive conversions in the near future.

[Source: Liberty Electric Cars Ltd. via AutoblogGreen]


Eden Project Green Car Show: Newly formed Liberty Electric Cars Ltd is investing £30 million in the re engineering of large luxury cars and 4 x 4s into emission-free, high performance electric vehicles. The company will design and manufacture a unique electric drive-train platform to power a wide range of large vehicles, which will also have the flexibility to incorporate emerging technologies. Annual vehicle production, which will include the world's first zero emission, electrically powered Range Rover, will be in tens of thousands and will create around 250 new technology and manufacturing jobs.

Barry Shrier, Liberty founder and CEO says; "The Liberty Electric Range Rover takes electric vehicle technology into a new sector, to large luxury cars that people aspire to drive, particularly in cities and urban environments where environmental controls are becoming increasingly tighter. The Liberty Electric Range Rover will drive cleanly and quietly around roads and cities, free of tax, congestion and parking charges, making less environmental impact than even the smallest, most fuel efficient car, yet still offering the comfort and security of a luxury 4 x 4."

Liberty electric cars will incorporate state of the art energy storage and management systems, which the company will also offer to other vehicle manufacturers, commercial fleet operators and emergency response organisations. They will deliver superior performance and acceleration compared with existing technology. Liberty electric cars will have extended driving range and shorter recharge times. The Liberty Range Rover will power its way through 200 miles before needing a charge, and some models will carry on board range extending generators. Costs will range between £95,000 and £125,000 depending on model and specification.

The market for electric cars is still in its early stages, however exponential growth is expected as legislation, social awareness and technological advances accelerate change in transport choices.

Electric vehicles have 80 per cent lower running costs than petrol cars. Electrical power is also a more efficient source of power, as petrol engines only use around 25 per cent of their energy to create motion - the vast majority is lost in heat and the mechanical movement of the engine and transmission. Electric motors deliver 90 per cent efficiency.

An electric motor also provides superior acceleration because unlike a petrol engine it does not need to be revved, in order to achieve full power. The power (torque) is instantly available at all times. This is why petrol engines use electric starter motors!

Liberty Electric Cars' management team is led by Barry Shrier, founder and CEO. Barry Shrier is a technology entrepreneur and a well educated and charismatic leader, with proven board-level general management experience. As managing director at Deutsche Bank, he developed the mobile payment system – Pay Box. He is also a non executive director of Washington-based satellite technology company Leo Terra LLC.

Barry Shrier is an active member of the Institute of Directors. He has an MSc in Philosophy from the London School of Economics, and a BA in Politics from Middlebury College, Vermont, USA.

Since July 2007, Shrier has focussed his considerable expertise on the development of zero emission cars, through the creation of Liberty Electric Cars Ltd.

He is joined by Peter Sylvester, a former finance director of Harley Davidson, BMW and Rover and Ian Hobday, who has a background in international sales and marketing that spans careers with BASF and Arch Chemicals Inc, where he was global managing director of the coatings business.

Lord Anthony St John of Bletso LLM chairs the company's advisory committee, which includes former science minister Ian Taylor MBE, MP and a number of experts in electric vehicle system design.

Liberty Electric Cars has been established to respond to the rapidly expanding demand for zero and low emission cars. Worldwide concern about global warming and climate change is growing enormously. Individuals and businesses are taking steps to lower their carbon emissions, and Governments are now legislating to change consumer purchasing and behaviour.

The electric car market is moving out of its early adoption phase and electric cars will soon be part of mainstream sales. However the major area of product development is in small 'city' type cars, with compromised performance and functionality. Liberty will focus on zero emission cars that satisfy the family, luxury and sports cars sectors, such as the Range Rover.

Liberty Electric Cars will engineer electric propulsion into existing vehicle platforms, replacing the internal combustion engine with electrical power. This approach has less environmental impact than creating a new range of vehicles. It also lets customers drive the vehicle they want, without additional cost to the environment.

A number of UK manufacturing locations are under consideration, including south west
England. Manufacturing will be managed in a way that makes as little environmental impact as possible, with much of the assembly work taking place alongside key suppliers' existing operations.

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      The real reason for it? Congestion Charge, electric and hybrid vehicles are exempt from paying it, and rich people hate paying tax (as do we all), no matter what it costs them to avoid it
      • 7 Years Ago
      I think it's bloody fantastic! After watching Who killed the electric car http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7202740060236675590 I am real happy to see someone is actually going forward with the concept.

      Also the fact that they are going after high end customers is the only way to start, they have to make money but, it's the trickle down effect once they get it going others will get involved and compete. There will (I hope) be manufacturers that will have the b---s to manufacture.

      The other thing I like about these guy's is that they are creating domestic jobs, not doing it in China. There's a ;lot to be said about that also.

      • 7 Years Ago
      BS. If the Tesla can barely pull 200miles, there's no way in hell this one will.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Agreed. Yet another company comes into the electric car market making ridiculous claims they can't deliver on.
      • 7 Years Ago
      This is great, another advancement for some new environmentally tech to get into automobiles. i know that a lot of people are going to hate, saying that this is only for the rich elites, blah blah, but thats the way that innovation always go. Its important that you have people at the top who are able to buy these "test" vehicles for ridiculous sums of money to ordinary people like you and me, so that these companies can one day have a break through that will lead to this technology coming to all of us common folk. And on top of that, the company is creating jobs, although not in the US, you got to applaud any company that can go out on a limb, put up that kind of money, and hope that it works out. I hope that it works out for them, and I hope that these come state side, and that you start seeing this as the new celeb rover, instead of the gas guzzling (although so bad ass) LR4 Supercharged. GOOD JOB!!!
      • 7 Years Ago
      It's the eact opposite of counter productive, it's logical. The retrofit will be expensive. SUVs suck ass at gas the most. So, get a horrible gas hog that someone will spend the money on, and wow, here we have it.

      I doubt anyone would pay multiple tens of thousands if of dollars, if not more, for a converted electric Honda Civic?
      • 7 Years Ago
      At that price point, I would question the size of the market. But what do I know- if someone was willing to plunk down 30million Pounds (that is a LOT of bread) on an upstart, I;m sure they know what they're doing.