Scientists from Cardiff University are teaming up with Electrogenic and Glastonbury Festival to help electrify Land Rover vehicles used across Worthy Farm.
The £348,564 project, which has received funding from Innovate UK, is being led by Electrogenic, a company specialising in converting classic vehicles into 100% electric, with input provided by Cardiff University engineers.
A total of four Land Rovers will be converted from diesel engines into electric and will be monitored using state-of-the-art software as they go about their day-to-day business to assess performance against cost and environmental impact.
Worthy Farm has already introduced solar panels and an anaerobic digester, both of which help them to create clean, renewable energy that supports the farm, local houses and elements of Glastonbury Festival. That power will also be used to charge the new electric Land Rovers.
In the UK, Land Rovers are widely used by farmers and landowners due to their performance and longevity; however, almost all of them burn diesel, often with poor efficiency.
There is currently no electric-powered version of the Land Rover that is close to being available to the market, whilst the off-road energy usage of four-wheel drive vehicles is poorly understood.
The Cardiff University Electric Vehicle Centre of Excellence, led by Professor Liana Cipcigan, is comprised of world-leading experts in all areas of electric vehicles, bringing together a range of scientists from across the University to investigate and help address the remaining barriers to the widespread introduction of the technology.
As part of the project, the team plan to invite farmers from across the UK to Worthy Farm to experience the electrification process and to encourage them to consider converting their own vehicles.
Once proof-of-concept is demonstrated in this first phase of the project, the team hope to move to a larger trial involving many more vehicles.
“We’re really excited to be able to work alongside Worthy Farm and Electrogenic to develop these electric vehicles and to support the brilliant green initiatives that are already taking place on the farm,” said Principal Investigator on the project Professor Carol Featherston, from Cardiff University’s School of Engineering.
“Most farms have a number of vehicles undertaking different tasks at any one time, and so being able to gather data on actual vehicle usage patterns, energy usage and charging requirements on a working farm as part of this project will enable us to develop a blueprint for how four-wheel drive vehicles can be converted to electric in a cost-effective way with as little environmental impact as possible.”
Steve Drummond, from Electrogenic, said: “We are delighted to be helping Worthy Farm to be even greener. Electrogenic’s technology is an important part of this project as it enables easy remote monitoring of all the data generated by the vehicles’ control systems, and we are delighted that this expertise has been recognised by Innovate UK.
“We have put together two specifications based on our experience, and deploying them on a working farm will give a real insight into how to keep costs down by not over-engineering the conversion.
“The vehicles will be tested throughout the winter, working every day in the worst that the weather can throw at them, so we are looking forward to a lot of good, clean fun. The end-product will be a fully documented, cost-effective way of going off road all-electric.”