Battery powered Land Rover

 

Where have the GPMG's gone?
Where have the GPMG’s gone?

Admittedly its not the future, and I don’t expect battery powered WMIK-R’s to be forging their way across the desert sands of some forsaken land anytime soon, but it’s a start! This limited production prototype has been produced by Land Rover South Africa, in conjunction with Barker Performance Products.

In place of the usual internal combustion engine is a 300 volt, 27kWh Lithium-ion battery pack, providing juice to an 94 bhp electric motor, in place of the gearbox. Ok, not the stuff of your average Sci-fi blockbuster, but it provides 330 Nm of torque at zero revs and a limited top speed of 70 mph, despite being 100kg heavier than the comparable vehicle.

The vehicle was produced with safari in mind, so the usual loud-ish diesel engine wouldn’t scare the wildlife; although by all accounts the whine of the electric motor is still audible.

I personally think it is a clever idea from a group of clever people…

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Lindermyer
Lindermyer
August 22, 2013 6:53 am

The vehicle was produced with safari in mind, so the usual loud-ish diesel engine wouldn’t scare the wildlife; although by all accounts the whine of the electric motor is still audible.

If its anything like most landrover’s you wont hear the motor whine over the whine from the gearbox (or the passenger seat if Mrs Lindermyer is on board).

Chris
Chris
August 22, 2013 7:58 am

Agreed – as there’s just the one electric motor where the original gearbox once was, the transfer case and both axles must remain to distribute the drive. These will be just as noisy as in the diesel powered vehicle. In addition, to get the right input speed range into the t-case (0-5000rpm nominal) it is highly likely the electric motor needs reduction gearing as most will deliver power at much higher rotational speeds. Anyone who has travelled on London’s tube trains will know how noisy all that gearing can be.

The real advantage comes with direct drive, but the motor technology gets considerably more challenging because the rotational speeds are really low. For a typical military off-roader (I’ve used the Jackal which if memory serves runs on Michelin 335/80R20 tyres with rolling radius 472mm) the wheel rotational speed at 80kph is 450rpm. Its asking quite a lot to get electric motors to work hard and efficiently at such low speeds. There are lots of bright people working on motors like these, so given time they will be available.

The bigger problem is battery technology. This Landie has a 300V 90Ah battery set. I’m guessing commercial lead acid batteries because they are cheap and spares are easy to source – that would be 25 car batteries all connected in series. But to get over the two disadvantages of the old lead acid cells – ageing and weight – is proving really quite difficult. Firstly the materials involved get much more exotic – lead & acid are cheap and plentiful; nickel & cadmium are more expensive and rarer; lithium even more so. Who knows what the next battery wondermaterial might be – plutonium? Diamond? Secondly the construction methods get more involved – the best battery technology at the moment uses a complex man-made compound formed into porous plates to dramatically increase surface area and as a consequence reduce battery impedance. A far cry from 8 inch squares of rough lead sheet.

Electric vehicles will only be viable once on-board energy storage is cheap, light, low volume and high capacity. In the mean time, hybrids offer the best solution, because a small diesel engine and tank of liquid fuel can a) deliver far more energy than an electric storage unit of the same volume, and b) reloading the full capacity of motive energy is two minutes at the diesel pump vs. 12 hours plugged into the electricity grid.

as
as
August 22, 2013 9:31 am

x
x
August 22, 2013 10:39 am

Back in the 60s (perhaps 70s) LR tried powering vehicles through the PTO on the transfer box using small quiet engines.

Lindermyer
Lindermyer
August 22, 2013 12:47 pm

@ Ace Rimmer, I agree with the sentiment but No stereo outmatches the Landies noise above about 55MPH, As for the Pax seat whine, I doubt concord at max chatt could out noise that.

On topic I look forward to viable electric drives , however I hate all the eco bull around them.
Electric cars are good because they have no emissions, except we all know that we have only moved the emmissions. On top of which those batteries aren’t good for the environment.

Don’t get me started on the Prius.

A small Dit
We pulled up into a city car park in my rather dirty old 90, we headed towards the shops whereupon we were accosted by a well to do woman. All spoken in French to fast for me but Woman’s face drops and spluttering starts.
The Translated Conversation was as akin to Why do you need a giant 4×4 to go shopping, do you think your going to Africa, Why do you need to advertise (I still have 4×4 response stickers on the thing). (Suprisingly no comment on the Bull bars).
Reply being We don’t, we’ve been to Africa already in it thanks, followed by a brief explanation of what 4×4 response does.

x
x
August 22, 2013 4:43 pm

The majority of “emissions” a vehicle makes are when it is being built.