Land Rover Defender Electric likely to be offered in different sizes

  • We expect the first Defender EV to come out by 2027
  • MLA Flex/EMA platform to underpin the all-electric Defender
  • Minimal changes expected to the exterior & interior design; 300-mile range expected
  • 90, 110 & 130 variants are all expected to be fully electrified eventually

It is no surprise that every Land Rover model will adopt one or more zero-emission powertrains later this decade. The company is converting its large SUVs such as the Land Rover Defender, Discovery, Range Rover, and Range Rover Sport to have electric variants. Turning the Defender, which is the most off-road-focused model, into an EV would be the trickiest, considering how customers use the SUV.


JLR has confirmed a pure-electric version of the Defender, which is part of its ‘Reimagine’ corporate plan. It is working on EV versions of its three hero nameplates: Range Rover, Discovery, and Defender.

Electrification is central to this strategy and before the end of the decade our Range Rover, Discovery, Defender collections will each have a pure electric model, while Jaguar will be entirely electric.

JLR’s Reimagine strategy, announced in 2021

Platform, Battery & Range

As per an Auto Express report from December 2022, Land Rover could build the Defender electric variant on the newer and more sophisticated MLA Flex platform, instead of the D7 that underpins the standard version. This is currently used in some of the brand’s high-end models – the all-new Range Rover and Range Rover Sport. Auto Express’ reporting aligns with JLR’s Reimagine strategy, which has streamlined its EV platforms to just three: MLA Flex, EMA (for mid-size models), and JEA (for Jaguar).

Land Rover electric platforms
Auto Express reports that the Defender EV will ditch the current D7 platform to utilize the MLA Flex that supports the new Range Rover family. Image Source: JLR (Investors Day 2023)

One of the highlights of the MLA is its versatility, as it can underpin regular internal combustion models while also accommodating fully-electric vehicles without much trouble. According to the Auto Express report, company insiders have pointed out that the MLA platform is capable of handling a 100 kWh battery pack, with hopes of an all-electric range of around 300 miles (presumed to be WLTP range).

Managing vehicle weight

Thierry Bolloré, the former CEO of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), said in 2021 that weight is a challenge with EVs. “They are already heavier than traditional car(s),” Bolloré said, adding that it’s “especially because of batteries.” But the then-CEO was confident that the situation will change in the coming years, which is when we could see the ultimate Land Rover models with a zero-emission powertrain in showrooms. “There will be a step in the coming years where it’s going to come back in a virtuous circle as well,” he said.

Bollore was giving an insight into the future of JLR during a conference call after parent company Tata Motors announced its annual report for 2020-21.

Concerning the way to manage the power, the torque, the experience of the customer, I can tell you, especially with special capabilities of our cars, that Defender, well, our team has done already a lot of tests. I can tell you, it’s easier and more enjoyable with electric motors than it is today with the traditional drivetrain.

Thierry Bolloré, former CEO, Jaguar Land Rover, in 2021

Design & Interior

Land Rover Defender Electric rendering
The Land Rover Defender Electric (rendered) should feature a closed grille and bumper, new wheels, and perhaps body accents to differentiate it from the regular SUV.

However, those wanting to see drastic design changes in the Defender Electric might be disappointed. That’s because Land Rover isn’t expected to make major revisions in this department. That said, the Defender Electric could come with a blanked front grille & bumper, possibly along with different wheel designs, paint options, and a slightly revised rear bumper, as expected with the Range Rover EV.

Similar to the outside, we would likely see the same approach on the inside of the Defender Electric. As the Auto Express story points out, the interior of the combustion model has already been receiving so many compliments that there is hardly any reason for Land Rover to make too many changes here either.

Land Rover Defender dashboard
As with the exterior, minimal changes are expected in the cabin of the Defender Electric, though the platform is different.

However, brands such as Volvo and Rolls-Royce (among several others) have already committed to using more sustainable and eco-friendly materials and designs in the cabins of their EVs. Land Rover is most likely to follow suit.


Depending on the variant and pricing, the Defender Electric will probably find competition in a wide range of high-end EVs. Some of the possible options for those cross-shopping may include the Scout Electric SUV, Rivian R1S, and the Jeep Recon. Mercedes plans to introduce the all-electric G-Class (G 580 with EQ Technology) this year but at a much higher price point.

Land Rover Defender electric vehicle (PHEV)
A plug-in hybrid electric variant of the Land Rover Defender is already available at dealers, addressing buyers who aren’t yet ready to go all-electric. Image Source: JLR

Variants & Release Date

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

Land Rover has delayed the rollout of two EVs and is now aiming to launch four models by the end of 2026. “Range Rover is coming soon, followed by Jaguar and our EMA architecture, such that by the end of 2026, Jaguar and four landmark BEVs will be available. Two others will follow a little bit later,” Richard Molyneux, Jaguar Land Rover’s CFO, said during the company’s Q3 FY24 results call on February 2, 2024.

Land Rover EV electric SUV future models
Land Rover has planned half a dozen electric vehicle launches, with 4 models planned by 2026. Image Source: JLR

It is almost certain that following the Range Rover EV, the next release will be the Range Rover Sport EV. Subsequently, electric versions of the Evoque and Discovery are expected, with the all-electric Defender expected to hit dealers afterward. We estimate that the Defender EV is locked in for release in 2027, with the plug-in hybrid model, introduced in 2020, offering a pure-electric mode until then.


On October 26, 2023, Jaguar Land Rover confirmed that its plant in Nitra, Slovakia, which produces the current Defender and Discovery, will also manufacture electric vehicles. While the company didn’t offer details on the electric models to be produced at this facility, we assume that the all-electric variants of the Defender will be added to its production lines.

Wolfspeed’s next-gen Silicon Carbide semiconductor

As per a JLR press release dated October 31, 2022, the British automaker’s partnership with the American electronics company Wolfspeed (formerly Cree Inc.) will result in next-gen Silicon Carbide (SiC) semiconductors in future Land Rover Electric models, which should include the Defender EV as well.

Starting next year, Land Rover will begin equipping some of its pure-electric SUVs with inverters that feature advanced SiC technology. These new semiconductors are expected to deliver higher powertrain efficiency and longer range, and will be manufactured at Wolfspeed’s Mohawk Valley facility located in Marcy, New York.

Smaller Defender EV also in the plan

In addition to the aforementioned large model based on the MLA Flex, there will be a compact Defender based on the upcoming EMA platform. Unlike MLA Flex, EMA is a dedicated future EV platform, so the model based on it, expected to be called the Land Rover Defender Sport, should be technically more advanced and offer higher efficiency.

EMA, an all-electrified architecture for mid-sized Land Rovers, Range Rover, Defender, and Discovery brands will come off that platform. That’s available from 2025. Just under two years’ time, our first EMA products – all electric, will be in the marketplace.

Adrian Mardell, CEO, JLR (Annual Investor Day on June 12, 2023)

The Defender Sport will likely have an 800-volt system, which should support charging at much higher power, of around 350 kW. Hence, fast charging to 80% level may take 20-25 minutes. The vehicle will use ‘EVA Continuum,’ JLR’s in-house developed electrical architecture and software stack.

We expect batteries with higher energy density and more torque-dense motors as well. 2027/28 could be the year the Defender Sport goes on sale, for those who prefer a smaller size or have a more modest budget compared to the larger Defender model.

Featured Image: TopElectricSUV’s rendering of the Defender EV.