Land Rover Defender electric could launch only after 2025

Jaguar Land Rover’s new ‘Reimagine’ strategy puts an unprecedented impetus on electrification across the two brands. With the company planning to offer the entire model line-up in electric by 2030, the Land Rover Defender electric is inevitable. The right question to ask, is when would it release?

In the next five years, i.e., by 2026, the Land Rover range will see the addition of “six pure electric variants,” JLR said while announcing the Reimagine strategy last month. These Land Rover electric vehicles would be conversions of ICE models, and perhaps the final launch in the sequence could be the Defender.

Former Land Rover chief engineer on the Land Rover Defender Electric

Recently, CoventryLive asked Dr Charles Tennant, a former Land Rover chief engineer who sat on the board of Tata Technologies, about the Land Rover Defender electric. In response, Tennant said:

Whilst it is obvious that Land Rover will produce a BEV Defender (and maybe later a hydrogen FCEV), I would imagine it will figure much later in the plan (post 2025), especially with annual investment capped at £2.5 billion and all those Jaguars to design and tool up first.

Charles Tennant, former Land Rover chief engineer, speaking to Coventry Live.
Land Rover Defender electric vehicle (PHEV)
A plug-in hybrid electric variant of the Land Rover Defender is already available in showrooms. Image: Jaguar Land Rover

Last month, Autocar speculated that five of the six pure electric variants JLR has confirmed will be of existing models. The instant torque electric powertrain technology offers can make the Land Rover Defender a more capable off-roader. However, the extra weight of the batteries could prove to be a roadblock in the conversion and limit its appeal.

The Land Rover Defender electric is a bigger challenge than any other Land Rover EV and possibly a very tough-sell. Being a Defender, customers are right to expect capability of going to faraway, remote locations where charging infrastructure is out of question.

In the current scenario, JLR would need to either shove in a huge battery pack or make the vehicle exceptionally energy efficient, both of which are unrealistic considering the size and positioning of the vehicle. However, by the second half of the decade, battery technology should have improved to a point where the weight and cost issues are addressed to make a Land Rover Defender EV on a budget that can do an off-roading trip from start to finish comfortably without any range anxiety.

Featured Image Source: Jaguar Land Rover