Image credit: Twisted Automotive

Electric vehicles have been on everyone’s lips recently and for various reasons but the latest bit of industry news is somewhat ‘Twisted’. A Land Rover Defender modification specialist based in the UK, Twisted Automotive, has announced the production of a limited series of 30 electric Land Rover Defenders but only for export to the United States.

Twisted Automotive is a Landie specialist known for turning old Defenders into more luxurious, stylish off-roaders thanks to sleek interiors, enhanced powertrains and loads of cutting edge technologies. Whilst most of the vehicles they modify keep the factory-spec diesel engine, some get a V8 but now it’s gone all-electric.

The All-Electric NAS-E Land Rover Defender

Designed according to the original North American Specification (NAS) short wheelbase Soft-Top 90 body type, it features exclusive electric powertrain technology, high-voltage power, a stunning interior and enhanced drivability. It looks at home on the road and beach with a presence that is sure to turn heads wherever it goes.

These special Land Rover Defenders are hand-built and individually numbered; fully compliant with North America’s Electric Vehicle regulations and California’s CARB regulations. The Twisted NAS-E 4×4 range originates from the Land Rover® Defender® legend which is now an unrivalled combination of proprietary and precision engineering, custom design and a reportedly 200-mile battery range.

With or without the current Covid-19 challenges, the EV industry is not to successfully navigate. Even large automakers struggle with challenges around packaging powertrains into existing models. Twisted Automotive has done particularly well spending close to £8 million (around $10 million) buying 240 Defenders for conversion.

Making the Twisted Electric Land Rover Defender

The conversion process involves installing a single motor that drives through the Land Rover’s existing four-wheel-drive system. It doesn’t need a conventional transmission considering the electric motor can produce peak torque from very low down. However, the converted electric Land Rover Defender will keep the selectable high- and low-range gearing to maximize when going off-road.

Twisted Automotive confirmed the battery has a capacity of 60 kWh but did not disclose much else not provide any additional information about the charging speed. Some images have indicated a charging port in place of the gas filler and a battery percentage meter instead of the original rev counter.

According to Twisted Automotive, its electric models use the identities and chassis numbers of imported Land Rover Defenders. These Landies are more than 25 years old and registered in Virginia as reconstructed vehicles.

Features and Specifications

In conjunction with the current diesel and V8 engine options in the U.S., the zero-emissions EV version has been developed in partnership with Dutch company Plower. The Twisted NAS-E Land Rover Defender has a transplanted electric powertrain offering two versions – 214-hp and 320-hp outputs. Twisted claims 280 lb-ft of torque and 339 lb-ft for the two respectively.

The Twisted Land Rover Defender gets custom-valve dampers, superior traction, significantly reduced understeer and better suspension for enhanced off-road capability. It is fitted with Twisted Performance six-piston front brakes and four-piston rear brakes, hard-use RS29 brake pads, ABS and TCS for better traction.

Refining The Interior

The electric Land Rover Defender line-up is designed to go anywhere and features a modern, luxurious interior with all the tech you need. It comes with soft-touch materials which were previously reserved only for supercars. Leather and Alston seats form part of an interior that has been designed to keep the driver cool while making it super easy to clean. Other interior features and tech include:

  • EV system with Sport, Eco and Off-road modes
  • Touch-screen infotainment system and navigation
  • Enhanced splash screen with unique functions
  • Rear-view wide-angled camera
  • Exclusive Twisted eight-channel audio system designed in Italy and developed in the UK specifically for Twisted vehicles
  • GPS tracker and vehicle immobilizer
  • Companion app enables live monitoring and security features

Final Thoughts

There is nothing wrong with being an early adopter of new technologies but it’s often accompanied by high prices. This is especially the case when customising and retrofitting an old vehicle into something new and, let’s be honest, pretty impressive.

Many car enthusiasts will undoubtedly see the appeal of converting a classic Land Rover Defender into an EV sensation but what about the cost? Starting at $185,000 (£145,000), can you justify spending that amount of money even if it was available in the UK?

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