Cardiff University: Land Rover conversion kit debuts at Glastonbury Festival

A ‘drop in’ kit that converts old Land Rover Defenders into fully electric vehicles has been launched and will be in action this weekend at the Glastonbury Festival.

A product of a unique collaboration between Electrogenic, Worthy Farm and scientists at Cardiff University, the kit will be used in a fleet of Defenders to help service the needs of more than 200,000 festival goers who are set to descend on Worthy Farm.

The ‘drop in’ kit is composed of an electric motor that is bolted on to the Defenders existing clutch bell housing, so that it can keep all of its gears, along with a number of 52kWh batteries mounted under the bonnet.

It provides the vehicles with 120 bhp and 235 Nm of torque – comparable to the original diesel engine – and retains the Defenders versatility, four-wheel-drive and towing capability.

The kit can provide over 100 miles of range on-road, and considerably more when driving off-road or around a farm, and has been designed to be entirely maintenance free, giving the vehicle an extended life of 200,000 miles or more.

Aimed specifically at landowners and farmers, the team say the kit can save up to £6,000 a year in fuel costs. At a cost of £24,000 + VAT, the team state the kit will easily pay for itself in just four years.

The kit has been in development and extensively tested over the past 18 months on Worthy Farm where a total of four Defenders were monitored using state-of-the-art software as they went about their day-to-day business to assess performance against cost and environmental impact.

The research was a result of a £348,564 project funded by Innovate UK and led by Electrogenic working with members of the Cardiff University Electric Vehicle Centre of Excellence, which is comprised of world-leading experts in all areas of electric vehicles.

In the UK, Land Rovers are widely used by farmers and landowners due to their performance and longevity; however, almost all of them burn diesel, often with poor efficiency.

Up until now, there has been no electric-powered version of the Land Rover that is close to being available to the market, whilst the off-road energy usage of four-wheel drive vehicles is poorly understood.

Cardiff University’s Principal Investigator on the project Professor Carol Featherston, from Cardiff University’s School of Engineering, said: “It’s fantastic to see the results of this project being put to the test at this year’s Glastonbury Festival, where sustainability and environmentalism is at the very heart of the festival’s ethos.

“Off-road vehicles are a notable source of hidden carbon emissions that have long been overlooked in our pursuit of net zero; however, they are also a vital part of farming operations all over the country.

“Between 2014 and 2021, just under 30,000 Land Rovers were declared SORN.

“Through this collaboration with Electrogenic, we’ve used our expertise to come up with a sustainable solution to this problem and ensure that Land Rovers can continue to play a key role in supporting the farming economy whilst at the same time significantly reducing carbon emissions.”

Steve Drummond, Electrogenic co-founder, said: “This new electric conversion kit is a really exciting development for us. We do high-specification conversions for road-warriors, but this kit is all about giving landowners an economic, sustainable option.

“It’s easy to install and uses Electrogenic’s proprietary technology. It gives Land Rover Defenders – long a trusty workhorse for farms up and down the country – an affordable new lease of life, reducing running costs while enhancing performance and driveability around the estate.

“After an extensive development programme, in partnership with automotive experts at Cardiff University, we also know that it future-proofs the traditional Defender, readying it for decades of reliable, sustainable service as we enter the age of low-carbon agriculture.”

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