Electric Land Rover Conversion

by Sophia
(Fayetteville, NC)

I need a SUV for work, but feel guilty about the gas mileage. Thinking about buying a used Land Rover and converting it myself. I've seen on the Internet that I can do this for around $300.

My concern is if this is true, how can I get more miles than just 150-200, is there portable chargers I can take with me and how long does it take to charge and how much $ do they cost, what about solar power chargers that I can slip in the windshield like a sunscreen, what if I want more power so I can go over 60mph, and do you think it is true that someone that has not ever fixed anything electric before can do this (120 pound female)?

I'm not afraid to take this challenge on and have a mechanic to pull the engine out.

Am I being realistic? Oh, and can the batteries go on top of the roof if reinforced and in a locked metal box to store them in? ;) I want to do this right and show it off without the guys laughing at me. They are laughing at just the suggestion of it now.

Hi, Sophia!

No, what you're proposing isn't realistic. Not even close.

Can you convert a Land Rover to electric for only $300? I don't know of anyone who's done an EV conversion for less than $600, though there's always the first, and it just might be you. There's only two ways I can think of to do it: if you get a lot of electric car component donations, like motor, controller, charger, batteries...

...or if you find a used electric forklift and break it down, selling the excess parts so that the net expense for you is only $300.

If you go this route, you'll be doing some welding, a lot of borrowing of special tools, and even more waiting while one thing or another gets sold off.

You'll be doing well to get 50 miles on a charge, let alone 150-200. If you get lithium batteries you'll get more than 50 miles, but that's not going to happen for $300.

You don't want to store batteries on the roof, because they're heavy. You want your center of balance to be as low as possible, to reduce the risk of rollover accidents. I've heard of people jacking up their vehicles and putting battery boxes underneath, which seems like a pretty good idea to me!

Yes, you can get an onboard charger for your EV. That's a good idea.

The solar panel idea? I've never heard of one that fits in the front window, but that seems like a pretty good idea if you could find one light enough to roll out and pick up when you wanted to drive. In general, I'm not bullish on movable solar panels, because they work best when they're perfectly positioned to collect maximum sunshine.

My suggestion is to keep that enthusiasm, because you absolutely CAN do it. And then read a reputable electric conversion guide, like "Build Your Own Electric Vehicle" or "Convert It!", and see what you can do.


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Where can I get the kit
by: Penny

This is fantastic! I'm a Defender girl and classic car enthusiast.

Do you know where I can get the proper EV conversion kit for the Defender?

Many Thanks!


Hi, Penny -
Plower makes a proper kit for the Defender! (They're in Netherlands, though.) If you're in the US I think your best bet is probably EV West in CA or Green Shed Conversions in FL. They won't have an off-the-shelf kit specifically for the Defender, but they can put something together for you that will work.


Real SUV EV conversion
by: Andy K

If you visit YouTube and search for Fully charged Rangę Robert you will see a video of an old Rangę Rover than can so 175 Real world Miles using Tesla Model S batteries.

Hi, Andy -
You mean this? Very nice.
- Lynne

by: Malcolm MacIsaac

What do you think about affixing an electric motor with the appropriate gearing to the Overdrive Pad
on the transfer box. Of course the batteries would have to be located on the cargo area floor. Trying to get them underneath would compromise the ground clearance, one of LR's best features and would be a bugger to work on.

Windscreen solar pannel.
by: Anonymous

The kind of solar pannel they make to go in your windscreen would take several years to charge an electric vehicle battery for one trip.

EV reality
by: Anonymous

People's expectations for EV is often way off the mark. To power a Electric land rover & to get a decent power to weight ratio you will be looking at Lithium batteries & you will need $8,000 worth. Also the idea you can charge an electric vehicle with a solar panel is fantasy, a solar panel can keep a motorhome battery topped up at best but to do that in a few hours is asking alot & to charge the batteries needed to propel a land rover would about 20 large solar panels & several days of sunshine.
Little know is the fact that alot of hybrids like the prius as an example have electric as a gimmick & the car would get less than a mile just on electric power & would be a better overall on fuel if you threw away all the electric parts of the drive system.

The times, they are a changin'. I'm sure I've said exactly the same thing. Now look what people are doing, just a few years later!

not for 300.00 but totally possible.
by: Anonymous

When you pull the engine there's a lot of space, keep the fly wheel so new electric motor will mate up to tranny right. Build frame for electric motor, put controller in to with battery charger, measure space above electric motor,from side to side and under hood.

Next figure how many optima 31 blue top batteries you can fit in there,THE MORE THE BETTER.
use a Honda generator to watch after your batteries.
When camping just route exhaust through old rover exhaust and use rover fuel cell for generator, this way you wont get stranded on longer runs. Plugin at home when not in use. i am doing a Dodge Durango right know, so far 4200.00,not bad considering.
I'd like to see their faces when it is DONE!

My Landrover called Lilly
by: Paul

I have a Series III 109 Station Wagon I drove overland all the way from Kampala Uganda to Jeffreys Bay South Africa and have been thinking about converting it into an EV for the last 6 years. It has a 2.25 Petrol engine with manual gearbox in. I had an overdrive box as well, but the needle pins packed up in South Africa. Everybody I tell it to thinks I am a little nuts, but how cool will it be to have a truly green Land Rover! I also thought of putting solar panels on the roof, because it´s such a large surface. The biggest thing is range I guess, but with batteries getting better and better, it may just become viable in the near future. Is there anybody else that has done a Landrover conversion, apart from the SWB Land Rover challenge one?

Hi, Paul -
Rod Wilde's Rover, here at the EV Photo Album.


by: Anonymous

$5k-$10k is more realistic.

And rovers are 3-5klb vehicles.. Range wouldn't be anywhere near 100mi.

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