Geneva 2013: Mash up the mountainside in Land Rover’s eco-friendly Defender EV

Land Rover Defender EV

Land Rover’s philosophy is “Tread Lightly,” believing that when off-roading, adventurers should not disturb the surroundings unnecessarily. Taking that motto one step further, the British SUV maker has built an electric version of its infamous Defender.

Land Rover removed the standard diesel engine and manual transmission and replaced both with a 94-horsepower, 243 pound-foot electric motor. A one-speed transmission sends power to all four wheels through a modified version of Land Rover’s Terrain Response all-wheel drive system.

The torque-y electric motor is powered by an onboard 27 kilo-Watt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, which – just like the electric motor – is air-cooled for weight savings.

Land Rover claims the Defender EV is just as capable as its diesel-powered cousin, capable of wading into water up to 31 inches deep. With a driving range of 50 miles, the Defender EV can travel off-road for up to eight hours before it needs to be recharged. Recharging only takes four hours on a fast charger and 10 hours on a level-two charger.

How much will this zero-emissions ultimate off-roader cost? Land Rover hasn’t said, nor has it said if it’ll actually build more than one. As fans of virtually ever Land Rover product, we’re hoping the Defender EV makes it into at least a limited production, even if we here in the U.S. won’t ever get to drive one.