Land Rover's silent Defender unveiled in South Africa
Tuesday 10 May 2011
Last week, Jaguar announced with considerable fanfare that it would commence a limited-edition run of its C-X75 supercar, but this week it emerged that its sister company Land Rover has gone much further - just far more quietly.
In collaboration with Axeon, Land Rover has produced an all-electric version of its Defender High Capacity Pickup, which is being launched this week at the INDABA tourism show in Durban, South Africa.
The launch location is a clue to the motive behind the concept, which has been designed with the safari in mind - the near-silent electric motor allows the vehicle to get closer to animals inside the country's game parks.
As well as a reduction in noise pollution, the replacement of the 2.4-liter gasoline engine with an electric motor has also yielded environmental benefits in the delicate ecosystem, with zero emissions from the tailpipe and the capability to do three tours without charging.
To ensure the vehicle can do everything Land Rover's famously sturdy vehicles are supposed to do, Axeon applied considerable creativity in the design.
While most electric vehicles hold their batteries in the floor to minimize the handling issues caused by extra weight, the electric Land Rover's 400 kg battery pack is placed underneath the hood, to ensure there are no problems driving through water.
The result is a powerful, silent car which vacationers can use to get closer to nature than ever before - it's being tested at the Londolozi Game Park, but will be on show at INDABA through May 10.
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