East Coast Defenders (E.C.D.) Automotive Design prides itself in meticulously crafting six-figure, bespoke Defenders and Range Rover Classics fit to impress even the pickiest of connoisseurs. But the company’s recent creation out-whizzes its robust collection of re-worked British machinery with a surprise underhood. This Range Rover Classic may look like the others, but it hides a ‘lil secret that helps it cruise with a futuristic whirr rather than a guttural growl. It’s from the past but powered by the future. It’s electric, the first of its kind from E.C.D.
In addition to its Rover 4.0-liter V-8 or Chevy 6.2-liter V-8 engine options for restored Range Rover Classics, E.C.D. now offers an “Electric Defender” conversion, and has successfully executed this EV powertrain swap in a customer build. E.C.D. sourced the Tesla Direct Drive EV powertrain and 100-kWh battery pack good for about 220 miles on a five hour charge through U.K.-based Electric Classic Cars (ECC). While all of E.C.D. ‘s powertrain options are cool, only the electric version is capable of going 0-60 mph in 5.2 seconds. E.C.D. claims that its electric lineup is 50-state compliant.
The Tesla drivetrain nearly overpowers the rest of the Range Rover Classic, but let’s not miss the fact that the whole vehicle exudes beauty. The exterior stays cool and inviting—yet relatively unassuming and vintage-correct—thanks its full gloss Alpine White paint, while the contrasting black grille ties in nicely with the other black exterior plastics.
The interior has been fancified with elegant Spinneybeck Pueblito tan leather seating with diamond stitching, a dark wood finish on the dash, and sleek E.C.D. gauges. An Alpine Halo9 multimedia receiver with a 9-inch touchscreen display allows for ever-useful navigation, Carplay, Bluetooth, and Sirius XM. Two subwoofers in the center console and Infinity Kappa speakers enhance the beats. The glovebox hides a CD player.
Not too many years ago, the concept of an electrified Classic Range Rover would have seemed foreign, bizarre, and questionable—not to mention a lot of work for a much-inferior result. Times have changed, and swapping out gasoline or diesel engines for silent, torquey e-motor power is a growing trend. Chevrolet Performance built a 1962 C-10 for SEMA 2019 and a 1977 K5 Blazer for (virtual) SEMA 2020, two gorgeous classics featuring fully electric powertrains. Zero Labs electrified a vintage Ford Bronco. Companies like Lunaz specialize in electrifying vehicles like the Classic Range Rover.
This trend is gathering momentum, but the likelihood of spotting an electric conversion on the road remains slim, because unless you were up close how would you even know? Maybe this sneaky aspect adds to the appeal.