There's a lot to love about a vintage Land Rover Defender: iconic styling, incredible off-road capability, open-air driving joy. Then again, there's also a lot to dislike: terrible ergonomics, a cramped cabin for anyone more than five and a half feet tall, and of course, an engine that manages to be both underpowered and highly inefficient at the same time.
Well, if the third of those complaints is your biggest beef with the O.G. Defender, Defender specialists Twisted Automotive might have just the solution for you: swapping the stock powertrain for an all-electric one.
Twisted Automotive, in case you're unfamiliar, counts themselves among the ranks of vintage Defender restoration-and-improvement firms like Himalaya, Arkonik and ECD. Up until now, their builds have followed the same general formula as those companies: take old Defender, strip it down, rebuild with better-than-stock components and, normally, cram a GM-sourced V8 under the hood.
The Twisted EV Drivetrain project puts a twist on things by instead yanking out the original powertrain and replacing it with a 60-kWh battery pack and an electric motor, rated at either 214 hp and 280 lb-ft or 320 hp and 339 lb-ft, depending on which you opt for. If you're worried this means the mechanical torque-multiplying goodness of the low-range four-wheel-drive system, fear not. The electric motor is mounted upstream of the transfer case, which sticks around so it can keep on offering the choice of 4HI and 4LO for when times get tough.
According to Twisted, the battery packs give the Defender a range of 200-plus miles on a charge (though given the car's aerodynamic profile, we're assuming that drops dramatically once you're going faster than, say, 30 mph). There's no word on how quickly the battery will charge, either, but based on other electric cars, you should probably plan on getting a Level 2 charger for your garage and topping it up overnight if you want to bring one of these home.
Sure, that'll cost you a couple thousand dollars, even if you go through Amazon — but given the outlay you'll have to fork over for one of these electric Defenders anyway, that's a few drops in the bucket. According to Car and Driver, pricing for the Twisted EV Defender starts at $185,000, with the more powerful version starting at $210,000. Still, if you're looking to have a vintage Land Rover that's kinder to the world you're exploring than other off-roaders (or, y'know, just want to show up the neighbors on Nantucket), that could be money well-spent.