Yes, new Land Rover Defender may be electrified; no, world not ending

2,000,000th Land Rover Defender

2,000,000th Land Rover Defender

Deductive logic may lead to an uncomfortable truth for Land Rover fans around the world.

This week, at a press event for the 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Velar, the automaker confirmed that it would offer electrified powertrain variants for its new models beginning with the 2020 model year. That push begins this year with the introduction of the Range Rover Sport plug-in hybrid, which the automaker estimates will sprint from 0-60 mph in 6.3 seconds.

It also confirmed that the next-generation Defender is still firmly part of the Land Rover plan for the U.S., though it hasn’t confirmed an on-sale date for the States. That last part is key: if the Defender arrives before 2020, it may initially skip an electron-heavy options.

But if all Land Rovers will have electrified options, and the new Defender will be a Land Rover, does that mean that the Land Rover Defender will have an electrified option?

“That’s as far as we’re willing to go with that,” Chris Marchand, executive vice president for Jaguar Land Rover North America, told Autozaurus.

Offering electrified powertrains and all-electric ones are very different things, officials quickly pointed out. While the new Land Rover Range Rover Sport plug-in hybrid will arrive soon and sport a 13.1-kwh battery, the next-gen Defender could be anything between a mild 48-volt hybrid system to a fully electric off-roader. It’s too early to tell, and even some Land Rover higher-ups say they’re still in the dark.

Of course, the additional low-down weight of batteries and the torque delivery of electric motors could be a boon for hardcore crawlers. Are electrified powertrains and off-roaders mutually exclusive?

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“No, they’re certainly not,” Marchand said.

Exhibit A: Bollinger B1.

Stay tuned.

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