Green Safari Vehicle

The misconception of 4x4s being big, lumbering gas guzzling beasts is about to be turned on its head again thanks to some creative thinking and innovation from South Africa. Axeon, manufacturers of Lithium Ion battery systems have teamed up with Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) South Africa to create the world’s first electric Land Rover Safari vehicle, The Defender Safari EV.

This new vehicle is a standard game viewing truck and based on the Land Rover Defender 110 Hi-Cap platform. The vehicle still has the standard rows of seats for tourists, an outward seat near the front of the vehicle for game spotting and open sides for maximum visibility.

The differences on this vehicle lie under the hood. Gone is the diesel engine, as well as the exhaust it puts out. In its place is an air cooled electric motor which puts out 244 lb/ft (330 Nm) of torque. Although the engine only puts out 79 hp (59 kw) of power, the great torque is more than adequate for the short distances and slow speeds encountered on most game drives. In addition, all of the electrics for the vehicle have been fitted into the engine compartment meaning there is no loss in cargo capacity, and it maintains Land Rover’s respectable water fording capabilities.

Coupled to the drivetrain is a 27kwh, 300v battery pack also made by Axeon. It gives the Defender EV a range of up to 50 miles (80 km), enough for three times the typical game drive, all while giving the Defender whisper quiet operation and no tailpipe emissions.

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