Land Rover Defender electric restomod uses in-wheel motors

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Another company has surfaced with an electric conversion for the original Defender, but there’s a difference this time.

U.K.-based Bedeo’s electric Defender uses in-wheel motors, which Bedeo has packaged as a retrofit kit that could potentially be used on any classic car.

Bedeo specializes in adding electric powertrains to light commercial vehicles, but the company plans to expand into classic cars through a new Reborn Electric: Icons program. The Defender is just the first conversion.

The in-wheel motors come from fellow British company Protean, which was acquired in 2019 by Swedish EV startup NEVS and sold to Bedeo in 2021 after NEVS ran into cash troubles. Chinese automaker Dongfeng has previously used Protean motors for its Fengshen E70 sedan. Former EV startup Lordstown also used in-wheel motors in its Endurance pickup truck, though these were sourced from a company called Elaphe.

Protean in-wheel electric motor

In Bedeo’s electric Defender, four in-wheel motors are used for a combined output of 483 hp, which is considerably higher than what most early Defenders could muster. Bedeo also installs its own 75-kwh battery pack, resulting in a range estimate of 153 miles on the WLTP cycle used overseas. A lower range figure would result using the stricter EPA cycle.

Bedeo claims it’s committed to matching the original curb weight and driving dynamics with each of these builds, achieved in part through weight savings brought about by the use in-wheel motors. In addition to ditching the internal-combustion engine and its associated hardware, the use of in-wheel motors also eliminates the need for things like a transmission and driveshafts.

There are downsides to the technology, though. In-wheel motors face direct exposure to road debris, saltwater, and various fluids, along with vibrations and shocks, all of which can reduce their lifespan.

Bedeo hasn’t listed a price for its electric Defender.

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