Florida-based East Coast Defenders (or E.C.D. Automotive Design) offers 100kWh ‘Tesla swaps’ for classic Defender models
The Land Rover Defender is a British icon. Over the years, its rich heritage may have been a bit overshadowed by the Mercedes-Benz G-Class (or G-Wagen) and a few Japanese names. Still, the global LR Defender community is going strong.
Jaguar Land Rover has already introduced the off-roader’s modern-day avatar in both ‘90’ and ‘110’ formats. In India, bookings have commenced for the 2020MY Land Rover Defender, which comes at a starting price of Rs 69.99 lakh ex-showroom.
While the new-gen Defender continues to be powered by an ICE unit — 2.0-litre 296bhp/400Nm turbo petrol, to be precise — East Coast Defenders (or E.C.D. Automotive Design) from Florida has taken a different approach. Instead of plonking a traditional Rover V8, the team at E.C.D. Automotive Design is offering 100kWh ‘Tesla swaps’ for classic Defender 110 models. The direct-drive Tesla motor promises a range of 220 miles (+350km) and a 0-100km/h sprint time of roughly 5.5 seconds.
A domestic wall charger can fill up the battery pack from empty in about 10 hours while a three-phase unit can drop this time to five hours. E.C.D. Automotive Design’s electric Defender may have lost the V8 grunt but stays true to its off-road DNA, with the added advantage of full torque output at zero RPM. In one perspective, this is as close to a Tesla SUV with good off-road capabilities.
The Tesla Cybertruck is supposedly an excellent off-roader but would a sensible person buy the pick-up with its ghastly looks? Meanwhile, the Rivian R1T has proved the potential of an all-electric powertrain in off-roading besides looking good.
Electric swaps are becoming popular in today’s automotive culture. While some of these are done just for the sake of it, certain examples are arguably better than their ICE donor. Recently, we had shared an interesting creation by Wales-based Electric Classic Cars on a Royal Enfield.
In its regular portfolio, East Coast Defenders has six engine choices: 430hp Chevrolet LS3, 565hp Chevrolet LS3, 320hp Chevrolet LC9, 640hp Chevrolet LT4, 190hp Rover V8 (the original choice) and a 2.8-litre Cummins diesel mill with 160bhp. In addition to this, the restoration firm offers a range of customisations and purpose-focused fitments for classic Land Rover models. E.C.D. Automotive Design undertakes one-off projects as well. The firm’s website has got a configurator for users to create their own versions of a ‘modern classic’ Land Rover.