1985 Land Rover Defender - EV Project

1985 Land Rover Defender - EV Project

Electric Land Rover - Nissan Leaf Transplant

Note: We have not work out where best to load video to share so will be coming soon and you may seen note about where video going.


And it all starts now. Just picked up a x-military land rover.
The drive home was fun when ever you went over 60km / hr the alarm came on.
Seem that military not allowed to drive to fast



Just took it last drive forward as an ice.
Got till this evening to remove ICE components from car before rain comes.


Well I did not bet the rain but I did bet the daylight.
Engine, exhaust fuel tank all out.
Still second rear fuel tank to remove and lots other thinks like fuel filter air filters etc.
Will get fly wheel and clutch off now and start to adapt it to leaf motor now.
Very greasy now but only needed grinder once for two nuts to get front panel off.
6 March 11am
Making progress removing all parts off motor. 
Starting now to remove exhaust
Now mostly de-iced.
It's funny to think this is progress
Just gone 8pm
Just managed to get fly wheel and engine bell housing

7 MARCH 2021:

just drilling holes in old engine bell housing so can connect to leaf motor.
Saves lot of work using the one off engine and give space need to still have fly wheel and clutch. The plate I made has face of motor drill already so just putting bolts in place so can hold while drill the ring adapter plate holes
9am Sunday just drilling out old engine bell housing to connect to adapter plates.
Weight of engine is just over 220kg.
Lot a weight in front. Which is why the Land Rover now sitting high at front.
That with no starter, alternator or power steering pump on it.
Radiator and oil cooler would all add to it

7 MARCH 2021: 11AM SUNDAY.

Just completed drill lots of holes in a perfectly good engine bell housing. So now just need to clean up sharp edges and bolt plates together.
[video drilling out] 10:53am
Removing center of housing so no in way of my coupling. High tech with 1 million holes to make ba very imperfect hole.
5:53pm : Bugger flywheel too far in on coupling.
Need to come out about 5mm as rubbing on housing and also wont work for clutch travel.
Try again.
Its a measurement from the face of the flywheel out to the face of the bell housing that the gearbox goes on to.
Fixed the spacing issue on flywheel
Now just need a thrust bearing and then I can try connecting it back to the gear box.
9:23pm : Fixed the spacing issue on flywheel
Now just need a thrust bearing and then I can try connecting it back to the gear box.
Few people have been asking about the connection to the gear box, so added in more info about it below.
We have taken the belhousing off a original ICE motor, and made plates to connect that on to the Nissan leaf motor. (Gen 1 and Gen 2 Nissan Leaf motor)
(Photos below from a 2.25 not this 2.5 deisel)
This one is from the 2.5 desiel plate used for this defender
And then we have made a coupling that slides on to the Nissan Leaf spline.
Where it has the shape and profile so that we can end up with the flywheel off the original motor being in same relative place from the engine bellhousing.
So means we still have clutch, and get to bolt now direct on to the existing gear box.
The coupling has a pressed bearing behind it that press against the engine plate,
This means tha when pressing the clutch is not putting extra force against the nissan shaft.
And a retaining plate used to stop coupling sliding back.
March 8
[Finn removing stuff]
Video for those that want it

9 MARCH 2021: 9:30AM TUESDAY

Im waiting on a parts to turn up in post, a $10 copper bush the spigot bearing to go in to coupling for gearbox shaft to line up to.
Mean while I check what have taken out and been selling them off.
320kg removed so far in weight from taking out the ICE stuff.
Plus I drained about 75litres of diesel from front fuel tank.
My other defender now temporally storing it.
So that would be about 400kg removed.
Still have to remove rear tank and lots of small things like filters and fuel lines


320kg removed so far in weight from taking out the ICE stuff.
Plus I drained about 75litres of diesel from front fuel tank.
So that would be about 400kg removed.
Still have to remove rear tank and lots of small things like filters and fuel lines
14 March 2021
Sunday 14th march 8pm.
Did not get much time this weekend.
But managed to get battery out of the leaf today. And just complete putting clutch and flywheel on.
Now sitting in front of defender and will connect to gearbox tommorow.
Monday 15 March 11:30.
It's in connected to gearbox.
Look at all that space still
Will need to make front engine mount. Block of wood under it for now.
 15 march 8:30pm
[Video of motor in to defender]
Just put the leaf motor in the defender today
A lite bit of back and forward to get clutch lined up but not bad effort for the morning.
17 March 10:16am
Battrery Oppened
Time to strip the battery.
Already noticed few different.
This thing is 30kw pack.
About 290kg this time.
And it's different modules inside
Battery box empty 2:28pm
27 March 2021
27th March 2021
Just been making up some new battery boxes
Have made out of Ali checked plate
As easy to come by and the Ali will help cool the batteries.
Have cut a hole in front section of the tub,
And can put two set of batteries in this location.
And when dropped down I will make a seat come around to cover the boxes.
And have managed to get two on the side in to tool box lockers.
Will have to complete the sealing of the boxes, is just done to check sizes do far. They just been folded and will be sealed and pot riverts used, May be better to weld next time.
If you had the time and want to get fancey could get them all under the tray but im going for easy access. And they done in boxes now that means I can lift them not one large lump. Does mean I have more wiring to make safe though to join them all
28 March 2021 5:26pm
Just been working out the leaf pedal box
So that can fit on to the new car.
Actual simple once spending hours working out the wiring and code to read it.
Has two sensors in it,
One ranging from 0-12v other is 0-5v range
Im using the 0-12v reading give more variants
What I noticed was that nissan getting cheap and saving money. The older 2015 pedal box has cast aluminum and the new 2017 leaf has press steel with few welds.
Will work out own version now to fit in to defender
Might hack up the 2017 version one as easier to weld new plates on to and then bolt in to defender.
16 April 2021
Have made up the first of the 4 boxes now
Time to wire up and then fix lid on.
They have been sealed
And have m6 rod going through them to keep under compression.
Will work on other three and engine mounts now also.
Its only attached to gear box for now.
And im using checker plate as it looks cool
But also will help with keeping the batteries cool when charging.
17 April 2021 6:37pm
Start to build up a new controller
And plugs to connect to battery box
Will have to find a nice box to put it in
18 April 2021
Finished putting board together and mapping on the top relay board for things that need to control.
(DUAL CAN and other things on lower board)
Will start connecting the battery wires now
That is what have to be careful to connect correctly as if you get the pre charge messed up then you will get a large spark and blow the service disconnect fuse.
So what ever setup up you're using make sure its HV fused.
I blow the HV relay and fuse when software was in wrong order prior.
20 April 2021 - Bugger just blew the fuze and relay in the HV battery again. Smells like ozone in garage.
Not sure what did wrong yet
Will have to figure that out after fixing it
3 May 2021 - Just working on new battery boxes and mounting them in Landy.
Have folded up 4 boxes now
They all seal up and and I have rod through them to keep under compression.
Just need to put batteries in other two and then start cabling.
HV wiring easy, but all the cell sensors wires will take some care just as so many.
3 May 2021 - Good day all batteries in boxes now
Need to make lids for them tomorrow
And have cleaned out and paint the side locker where two of them will go.
Will just close off that gap on bottom tomorrow to reduce dirt traps
4 May 2021
Just taken the wings off
Needs some work on the fire wall
Small holes nothing major but one above pedal box so have to take accelerator off.
Was going to any way, see if can get the leaf one to work in place.
Just water blasted what I can get to on chassis and bulk head
Plan to under body spray to make look nice again and protect it. Chassis good just small section at rear need clean up
Ohh and I found a screw driver
If some one in Singapore military is looking for it still.
You left it on firewall behind the wing.
Your welcome to have it back 😉
Its in Auckland NZ now
4 May 2021
Time to wire up the new battery box configuration
Only a 144 connection to get to work again

19 May 2021

Just been doing little maintenance, wings off cleaned up and paint fire wall around foot wheel.
Primer on and sealed all joint's
Paint black tommorow and get clutch and brake back on.
Then making new accelerator pedal mount.
Front engine mounts being worked on also.

22 May 2021

Have been working on a few things to finish off under the engine bay. 
Need to get engine mounts for front of motor complete. 
Have been cutting up testing with print out of A4 that get laminated to test.
Plus have made plate to hold the Nissan leaf accelerator pedal on land rover foot wheel.
And need to take the top section of the leaf off
Its the charger and PDM of the unit
Turning it 90deg so have new plate for that needed
Hope to get cad work complete early next week and the get cut.
Wing still off so easy working with it.

The reason to turn the charger 90deg is
because when you take the transfer case off leaf motor,
it has a 120mm overhang.
So that charger/pdm unit on top won't clear firewall when bolting to gearbox.

25 may 2021

Just extended the main battery cable.
Now long enough to go back to new battery location.

25 may 2021

And also new leads to get the PDM/charger back on top but turned 90deg.


10 June 2021

Working on front engine mounts.
Got back from Lazer cutting.
All seems to align with correct holes.
So that's always good.

10 June 2021

Got plates cut for mounting accelerator pedal in land rover.
Cut to hold Nissan leaf accelerator pedal. And fit the shape of bulkhead footwell to be place of original.
Just welded up and painted so will try bolting in place for actual test.

11 June 2021

At home just labeling all the ends off the main plug from leaf.
Little OCD but have made printed label with wire number, colour of wire and what it does. But will help with joining wire's to what needed.
Only 27wires so is worth time to label.

Ok well this not good.
Thus plug does not seem to have wire's out required.
Missing can lines and inverter power feed. Will go check other's and see if all same. Guessing scrap yard pulled off other than gen 2 leaf.

Just checked and all that got of them not from Gen 2 leaf. Guess off Gen 1 (2011/2012). This is why need to get whole car and strip your self.
Lucky I hace box of wires for one I stripped.

This is what got from that loom, has main plug and also the one to connect pack to charger

So got correct plug and now all labeled up.
Lot longer tails so better than last one.

12 June 2021

Found radiator from earlier leaf 2012 (gen1) and fits with out needing to mod radiator or wings.
So that's great news.

14 June 2021

Accelerator plates welder up and painted.
Boted in fits where needed.
Two solid metal pedals and a toy plastic one next to it now.
Just small tweak to next plate need.
Need to try in Series 3 and series 1 see if and changes

Seems that 1999 defender on have ePedal so wont need change or can get on of those if have budget.

15 June 2021

Changed design of mounts.
Looks better. Hace to wait to get welded up by certified welder to keep inspector happy. Will bolt wings back on now. Was nice to hace off but less to do now

21 June 2021

New engine mounts all done.
Painted up and bolted down.
No more wood holding it up gearbox now

22 June 2021

Just finished the bolting on the inverter.
Charger unit was disconnected from top.
It was turn 90deg because it had an over hang that was colliding with the bulkhead.
So had to make plates to turn and allow to bold back on
Also had to extend two wires for the power to the inverter.
Also now have the electric power steering pump in place and will bolt that down tomorrow. 

Its looks so empty in their


30 June 21

Managed to find the chip need and made new version of the controller.
V4 now with some new feature
Just turned up today
Just tested 5 new boards and working well

9 Aug 2021

Just been working on a Version 3 on a controller buttons and light to let me test the software for leaf motor.
Looks just like all the buttons in a Nissan Leaf.
I might need to add some labels

Leave your comment
5/5/2021 7:50 PM
looking good!
5/13/2021 7:33 AM
So enjoying reading about this build! Great work buddy.
5/19/2021 6:34 PM
Wonderful! Thanks for updating everyone.
5/19/2021 7:49 PM
Great work Darrell, I would love to see the videos you mention too. Not sure if it’s because I’m viewing this on my phone but I don’t see any videos at present.
Keep up the good work and looking forward to seeing the performance figures.
6/22/2021 7:04 PM
Looks like a good, CAn you tell me what the pin layout for the accelerator o-5V and 0-12V on the plug?

9/26/2021 11:38 PM
I'm converting a Freelander using a Gen 1 Leaf drive train so very interested in following this.
Keep up the good work.
12/6/2021 6:37 AM
I like the documentation, keep it up!
2/10/2022 4:56 AM
Any progress? Been watching and reading eagarly