Harrogate firm powers electric Land Rovers

An all-electric Defender powered byh Nidec SR Drives technology in testing. Picture: Jaguar Land Rover (s)
An all-electric Defender powered byh Nidec SR Drives technology in testing. Picture: Jaguar Land Rover (s)

A Harrogate firm has helped develop a fleet of zero-emission electric Land Rover

research models.

Otley Road-based Nidec SR Drives Ltd provided an electric motor and drive system to replace the diesel engine and gearbox which feature on standard Defender models.

The seven research vehicles were unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March, and will be used by the manufacturer in real world trials later this year.

The models are not scheduled to enter production, but will be used by Land Rover as basis for its research into launching an electric vehicle (EV) in the future.

Nidec SR developed a system which could handle the expectation of a Defender’s off-road performance.

Dr Roy Blake, managing director of Nidec SR Drives said: “We are delighted to have worked with Land Rover on this exciting development.

“It was a great opportunity for us to transfer our proven traction technology from heavy-duty mining and construction vehicles to smaller road-going applications.”

He added: “The marriage of our rugged high-performance technology with the Defender vehicle is an excellent pairing and aligns well with plans to place SR Drive technology at the heart of its EV traction developments.”

The vehicles retain the Defender’s four-wheel-drive system and diff lock, but the SR motor immediately delivers maximum torque from the moment it starts, so requires a single speed transmission, meaning there is no need for gear shifting.

Antony Harper, Jaguar Land Rover Head of Research said: “This project is acting as a rolling laboratory for Land Rover to assess electric vehicles, even in the most arduous all-terrain conditions.

“It gives us a chance to evolve and test some of the technologies that may one day be introduced into future Land Rover models.”

The cars have a range of 50 miles and top speed of 70mph.

Nidec SR estimates they will run for eight hours at low off-road speeds before needing recharged.