Axeon unveils an all-electric Land Rover Defender for safaris

Axeon Land Rover Defender 110 – Click above for high-res images

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.

[Source: Axeon]
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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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