• May 11th 2011 at 10:06AM
  • 18
Axeon Land Rover Defender 110 – Click above for high-res image gallery

What's the point of going on safari if your truck's rumble and exhaust sully the experience? That's what Axeon and Land Rover have reasoned, teaming up with the solution you see here.

Developed in collaboration with JLR South Africa, this Defender 110 – a long-wheelbase model with an extended pickup bed (fitted with extra seating) instead of an extra set of doors – has had its diesel engine replaced with a lithium-ion battery pack mated to an unspecified motor capable of propelling the Defender over approximately three times the usual "game drive" (read: hunting expedition) on a single charge. All this without emitting a single local gram of carbon and maintaining silent operation that will bring its occupants closer to the game without spooking them off.

The vehicle will be unveiled this month at the INDABA tourism expo in Durban. Follow the jump for the details in the press release.
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Axeon has worked closely with Jaguar Land Rover South Africa to produce an all-electric version of its iconic Defender model for use in game parks, minimising both environmental and noise pollution.

The battery system produced by Axeon, Europe's leading independent developer and manufacturer of lithium-ion battery systems, has been fitted to a Land Rover Defender 110 High Capacity Pick Up in place of the standard 2.4-litre diesel engine.

Unlike many electric vehicle battery packs that are positioned in the floor of the vehicle, the Axeon pack has been designed to fit into the vehicle's engine bay in order to maintain ground clearance and wading height for this unique vehicle.

The bespoke battery system also incorporates Axeon's proprietary Battery Management System (BMS), which monitors the battery state, measuring and controlling key operational parameters, thus ensuring safety – particularly important for an electric vehicle that may encounter harsh conditions.

The replacement of the engine means that the production vehicle's tailpipe carbon dioxide emissions of 295g/km have been reduced to zero and the electric Defender is also able to operate very quietly. In testing the range was shown to be capable of three times a typical game drive on a single charge – around 80km with a 20 km reserve range.

The short development timescale of the battery was achieved by deploying Axeon's accumulated experience in the design and manufacture of lithium-ion battery systems, and by working actively with engineers from both Land Rover and their South African partner Barker Performance Products.

The electric Defender has been received well by experienced Land Rover drivers, including those from the official Land Rover Experience, and it has performed exceptionally well on the rigorous and gruelling Gerotek test facility. In testing, the vehicle has also been able to get closer to animals within the game park due to its much quieter operation.

Whilst the electric Defender has been designed specifically for the game park sector, there are numerous other potential applications for such a vehicle, where reducing environmental and/or noise emissions are a priority.

The electric Defender will be launched as a concept vehicle at INDABA, one of Africa's largest tourism events, held in Durban, South Africa, from 7th to 10th May 2011.

Batterysystem specification:

Total Pack Energy: 28.8 kWh
Approximate dimensions (mm): 1080 (L) x 780 (W) x 590 (H)
Approximate weight: 400kg
Nominal Voltage: 288V
Maximum Voltage: 324V
Minimum Voltage: 225V
Maximum Pulse Power: 144 kW

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      OK, so when it runs out of juice it's basically a buffet line.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This vehicle is very much suited to its intended purpose. If you've ever visited the Kruger or other game parks in South Africa, there is excellent infrastructure and these really are game drives not 'hunting expeditions' typically 2-3 hours at a time. Now if you go to the parks in more remote places like Botswana where you really do need 4x4 with river crossings, deep sand etc, this would obviously not be suited.
      4 String
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is the steewwwwwpidest idea ever. I mean, look at that, there's not even a solar panel in the canopy! Blimey. I mean, a hybrid would make more sense to get more miles out of a tank of gas, but this... this is blasphemy to the range gods.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Fails: 1) People riding this are probably eco-conscious. They're probably packing 14MP Canons, not guns. 2) Short-circuit while fording river (unless it has sealed electronics). 3) Probably much shorter range. Once you're out of power, you're sitting ducks (or gazelles, so to speak). 4) Carrying an extra 300mi worth of gas is a couple hundred pounds lighter (and cheaper, but only in Britain) than carrying 300mi of batteries. 5) Africa has some pretty vicious animals. You do not want to be stuck. Hippos kill plenty of people (watch out for them).
      • 4 Years Ago
        • 4 Years Ago
        Gee, thats nice.
        LUSTSTANG S-197
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm sure a lot of people would put a bullet in your head if they knew they could get away with it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Seeing as you are a non-hunter (also assuming non-shooter), a hunter would but a bullet in your head before you could.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Howsa about we make it really "Green" and ban vehicles alltogether and let the animals have a fair chance? One on one in the Bush like the old days when Zulu hunters had a sharp stick and bare feet. Now THAT"S huntin'!
        • 4 Years Ago
        I don't think this vehicle is used mostly for hunting, more just viewing. Maybe that's why it has all the seats, so you can fit more people in with cameras and not guns.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Now THATS a hybrid that makes total sense.
      • 4 Years Ago
        • 4 Years Ago
        because there is also a huge natural population of fill up stations in the African wilderness!
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