Land Rover plans to push heavily into EVs by the decade's end. That push will include electric variants of every model, including the new Defender. A report from AutoExpress, citing knowledge from Land Rover insiders, offers some further details on what to expect from the electric Defender, which should debut in 2025 and hit dealers by 2026.
The report says the electric Defender will arrive as a substantial mid-cycle refresh for the Defender. The SUV will look largely the same — with some tweaks like a larger infotainment screen and greater use of sustainable materials — but switch to the brand's new MLA Flex hybrid architecture that underpins the new Range Rover and Range Rover Sport. That architecture can accommodate both electric and combustion engines.
AutoExpress thinks the electric Defender will be available in 90, 110 and three-row 130 layouts like the combustion model. It should carry a 100 kWh battery pack, which the site says will offer about 300 miles of range (probably more like 270 miles under EPA testing).
On paper, the electric Defender will likely be an even better off-roader than the current vehicle. Per the report, an electric powertrain will provide instant torque and even more advanced torque vectoring capability. The SUV will also get a flat underbody, improving ground clearance from the 8.6-inch-to-11.5-inch range of the current model.
Land Rover will need an electric Defender in the lineup by 2026. Rivian — styling itself as an upmarket adventure brand with strong Land Rover vibes — already has an electric Defender competitor on the road with the R1S SUV. Mercedes will launch the EQG electric version of the G-Class in 2024. Jeep will launch the off-roader-ish new Recon SUV that year as well. The number of takers for sub-20 mpg gas SUVs should dwindle in the coming years, especially among the affluent customers who buy Land Rovers.