Spy Shots: Land Rover Testing Hybrid 2020 Defender

May 20, 2019 by Ryan ZumMallen, @Zoomy575M

Jaguar Land Rover is testing a hybrid-electric version of its upcoming 2020 Defender SUV.

Spy photographers caught a prototype on public roads outside of the company’s research and development center in Gaydon, England. A look into the vehicle’s registration records confirmed it uses a hybrid powertrain.

Land Rover will debut its reborn Defender later this year. After a 22-year hiatus the SUV will be available in the U.S. market as a modernized successor to the rugged original. It will feature unibody construction, independent suspension and other components that leave Land Rover purists skeptical that the new model will live up to its name.

2020 Land Rover Defender hybrid

The heavy bull bar offers serious off-road protection. (Photo: Glenn Paulina/Trucks.com)

Among the possible changes is adoption of alternative powertrains such as a hybrid-electric unit. Jaguar Land Rover offers a mild-hybrid Evoque, plug-in hybrid versions of the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport and the all-electric Jaguar I-Pace.

The vehicle registration uncovered by photographers did not reveal exact powertrain specifications. The unit in the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport combines a 2-liter four-cylinder engine with an electric motor. The combination delivers 398 total horsepower, 472 pound-feet of torque and 31 miles of all-electric driving range.

ADOPTING EV TECH

The electrified Defender could use a hybrid powertrain that regenerates from braking rather than an external charging station. In an interview with Trucks.com in February, Jaguar Land Rover of North America Chief Executive Joe Eberhardt said the company will adopt electric technology to assist off-road vehicles on a measured timeline.

2020 Land Rover Defender hybrid

The 2020 Land Rover Defender will debut later this year. (Photo: Glenn Paulina/Trucks.com)

In addition to its electrified parts, the Defender prototype spotted in England wore a number of accessories. A metal bull bar provided serious front-end protection. The Defender also had an integrated heavy-duty Warn winch for off-road recovery.

Land Rover stated in 2018 that the new Defender will be its most capable off-road vehicle ever.

Ryan ZumMallen November 16, 2018
A drive in the modernized Land Rover Defender nicknamed “Project Diva” demonstrates how ECD Automotive Design is feeding demand for restored rugged trucks.

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