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Discussion Starter #1
I am starting to get excited about converting a Land Rover Defender.

Does anyone know similar projects, links to websites, etc. plus parts suppliers such as end plate to attach motor to transmission?

Have done a bit trawling but still looking for ideas, inspiration, etc.

To show how fickle I am I also thought about converting a Porsche Boxster (dream car for me) but need a tow bar to take a small trailer to the dump every now & then!
 

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I'm sure you could find a towbar for the boxster?

My company (indra.co.uk) can help with what you are looking for - We last fitted a motor-gearbox adapter yesterday!

Happy to talk through the technical side of things if that is of use?
 

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Thanks Andrew. Not looking for too much range (maybe 50 - 60 miles) as Zoe is now our main car - finally trust it'll be OK! Could always get more batteries when price comes down/I can afford them. Yes, please ask if your friend has any tips.
Thanks Paul - Very inspiring but no way I could justify a Factory Land Rover e vehicle. Will stay with a diy project, as I say, as a second e vehicle. PS Great Ecotricity ad with the cooling towers crumbling (last night there was a fire at the Didcot station) and the windmill growing out of the dirt!
Hi Mike - Yes, I will definitely look at your website and be in touch at some stage when I have some practical issues to address. First of all - question: fantasy Boxster or practical Landy?!!! Did think of a tow bar on the Porsche - shame the Zoe won't take one (too expensive and guarantee issues if I diy one).
 

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Not done one myself, but I would guess that if you can get hold of a Defender, then I would think it would be a fantastic conversion project. Rock solid platform, not much in the way of standard electrics to worry about, and plenty of room for a big battery pack!
 

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Converting a Defender will be quite a challenge. Whilst you have plenty of potential space for a battery pack, you will need a very large one. With well over a Tonne to shift around the motor and controller will have to be suitably sized, and wont be readily available. The motor used in the AZure Dynamics Transit connect could be useful, as could the controller, but with a need for over 300v and the size of vehicle you are looking at 100+ cells with at least a 200AH capacity at around $1.25+ duties and carriage per AH per cell, thats going to be a substantial value of cells. WIth 100AH it would move but have a really limited range. The Siemens motor has a snap in spline so needs a complex coupling adaptor, and thrust bearing assembly if you are going to use the clutch.
If you went for a freelander It could be much simpler to convert. Need less powerful motor and less battery AH.
Do contact me if you wish to discuss, Im based near Colchester and hold quite a stock of parts.
 

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I wonder if it would be worth using two Leafs as donors? You could get two complete cars for less than £20k now. Fit one drivetrain to the front axle, one to the back, have permenant all wheel drive, and a 48kwh battery, and about 200hp...
 

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Great if you are up for a conversion to a full independent suspension, and developing the software to couple the two drive trains. It would be a hugely complex project, and you would lose the central diff locking and low gears. You could put a single front wheel drive transverse traintrain, through 90degrees and drive one side to the rear axle and one to the front. But again you would lose the reduction box and the Locked diff, so rather losing the point of a defender. I fear that a FWD gearbox gould not live with the loads that would be imposed on it as a direct drive onto large diameter wheel / tyre combo. Almost twice the radius of a Leaf wheel.
 

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Great if you are up for a conversion to a full independent suspension, and developing the software to couple the two drive trains. It would be a hugely complex project, and you would lose the central diff locking and low gears. You could put a single front wheel drive transverse traintrain, through 90degrees and drive one side to the rear axle and one to the front. But again you would lose the reduction box and the Locked diff, so rather losing the point of a defender. I fear that a FWD gearbox gould not live with the loads that would be imposed on it as a direct drive onto large diameter wheel / tyre combo. Almost twice the radius of a Leaf wheel.
That's why you've got two sets of drivewheels, half the torque! :D

And I don't think "coupling" the drivetrains would work, all you'd want to do is send the throttle and gear selector data to both ECU's and then let them do their thing.
 

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That's why you've got two sets of drivewheels, half the torque!
You'd still have the problem of what to do about the Axels and would loose the low range transfer case.

The low range, axels and coil springs are an important part of what makes a Defender work off road. Take that away, and I'm not sure I see the point of converting a Defender. Maybe convert a Ford Ranger instead.


Two complete LEAF battery packs might be a good idea though.
 

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The defender is a large rugged vehicle with low speed and high torque, with the ability to lock the dif to get you out of trouble. WIth light weight independent suspension and transmission not built to take large loads at low RPM (and not the shock loads you can get off road with a defender) I really cant see how leaf transmissions would work.
You would still have to link the controllers, so that RPMs etc are appropriate for the load and conditions. Otherwise it would be like driving a Defender on the road with the centre diff locked. Dire and almost impossible to steer.
Make it simple and make it happen, make it complex and eventually it will become someone elses unfinished project purchase.
If you want 4x4 go for a Freelander, or something of like size, then you have loads of options for the motor conversion and a much reduced bulk to shift.
If you want the features of a Landy then go fo it, but be realistic and dont re-invent the wheel, Developing independent suspension systems will be costly, they can be purchased from the US but its just so expensive. Try wheeling a 7.6 16 Landy wheel and tyre about by hand and you will quickly realise the potential loads, when one is spinning wildly in mud, and it grabs or you take the throtle off. People still break Landy half shafts. I fear a Leaf drivetrain just couldnt cope.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
This is impressive stuff, guys. At a very basic level two Leafs could supply plenty of battery, two motors, controllers, etc plus plenty of other goodies. I've already had a quote of batteries for around 10K so it puts it in perspective. Absolutely agree that the integrity of the Defender shouldn't be compromised, otherwise what's the point? But for general ev conversions Edd's suggestion raises lots of possibilities. However, doesn't the cynic say what's wrong with the Leaf in the first place?
 

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This is impressive stuff, guys. At a very basic level two Leafs could supply plenty of battery, two motors, controllers, etc plus plenty of other goodies. I've already had a quote of batteries for around 10K so it puts it in perspective. Absolutely agree that the integrity of the Defender shouldn't be compromised, otherwise what's the point? But for general ev conversions Edd's suggestion raises lots of possibilities. However, doesn't the cynic say what's wrong with the Leaf in the first place?
Well it doesn't have enough range (double sounds good), it looks a bit ugly (swapping into another body would fix this!) doesn't have much power above 50mph(double should do!)and isn't all that unique. Personally id go for something like an S Class body, or maybe a classic Jag....
 

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JLR simplified the installation with the motor coupling directly to the transfer box, so no gearbox, just low and high and diff lock. All of the battery is under the bonnet. That simplifies the construction but does put a bit more weight over the front axle, you could readily shift some of that weight backwards and lower (space under the floor)
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks Grumpy-b. You are a mine of information! Thanks Edd. I am being wowed still by the options opening up. Forgive my lack of helpful suggestions but keep it coming!
 
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