South African electric vehicle conversion company, Freedom Won introduced sections of the media to its latest full-electric creation, the Freedom3 recently. aBr Buzz readers may already be familiar with Freedom2, Theo Callitz’ modified Toyota Prius.
Freedom3, however, is another animal altogether. The bespoke Land Rover Series 130 Defender is the first commercially viable electric game viewing vehicle produced in South Africa. It is powered by 180 custom-made 60Ah LifePO4 Lithium batteries that are imported from Brazil. In total, these cells produce the equivalent of 35kWh.
Freedom3’s electric motor produces 80 kW and 600 Nm of torque, with these outputs sent directly to a transfer case, meaning there is no gearbox as such. The motor is driven by an advanced technology inverter specially designed to run permanent magnet motors. This unit manipulates the 580 Volt (V) Direct Current (DC) power source into a precision controlled variable frequency three-phase Alternating Current (AC) sign wave, which in turn accurately and smoothly delivers the exact amount of torque “requested” from the driver to the motor.
While top speed is rated as 115km/h, of more importance to drivers is the 140 kilometre range (provided an average speed of around 70km/h is maintained). The vehicle can be fully charged on a standard (15A) household plug in around eight hours, while the same charging process can be achieved in five hours when using a 30A plug. While the batteries add an extra 250 kg’s to the vehicle’s GVM, it is negated by the significant torque figure, all of which is available immediately.
Freedom3’s off-road capabilities is in no way impeded as it still features permanent all-wheel drive, low range gearing and a centre diff lock. Service intervals are expected to be around 50 000 km, and encompasses checking the batteries, brakes and tyres. The batteries themselves have a 10-year expected lifespan.
Electric game viewing vehicles are ideal for game reserves as they drastically reduce noise and emissions pollution, allowing tourists to get closer to wildlife, while radically reducing their impact on the environment.
Freedom Won, owned and operated by engineer Anthony English and entrepreneur Lizette Kriel, also provides electric conversions and solutions for passenger cars, boats, mobile lighting plants and residential properties.