Melbourne-based company breathes new life into old four-wheel drive


The automotive landscape is changing at an incredible rate. Faced with tighter emissions and pollution restrictions, automakers are turning to electricity for the future.

While gasoline and diesel, used in an “internal combustion engine”, have been the rock on which the auto industry has been built for over a century, we are currently in the midst of an electric revolution. .

But, in the face of this futuristic revolution, classic cars and four-wheel drive are somewhat of an accidental poster of the movement of electric vehicles.

Classic and vintage Land Rover are pulled from paddocks and sheds around the world and are now being reinvented as electric vehicles for the modern era.

Jaun Engines is one such outfit, based in Williamstown, a suburb of Melbourne.

Founded by Martine burger and Dave Move in 2018 – none of them had experience in the automotive industry before – the company is now booked until mid-2023 on conversion projects. Now Jaunt Motors is working hard to expand and rationalize its production capacity.

Turning an old Land Rover into one of Jaunt’s end products involves a thorough restoration and reconditioning of the existing chassis and mechanics, with the exception of the engine, of course.

A 90kW / 240Nm the electric motor bolts to the original gearbox, meaning the capable four-wheel-drive system remains intact.

The range between charges starts at around 100 kilometers, but can be extended up to 400 kilometers in some cases.

Jaunt says old Land Rovers provide the perfect canvas for electrification.

“The aluminum panels mean they haven’t rusted. A body-to-frame construction makes them easy to work with. They are designed to withstand heavy loads, which means we can fit a large number of batteries.

“There is an extensive spare parts network, as many components have remained unchanged for 50 years. They are still affordable to buy and available nationwide. And they have an iconic, nostalgic shape, which inspires adventure.

Prices for a Jaunt Land Rover start at around $ 120,000 for a more modern style Defender, while the older model in the series is more expensive at $ 200,000.

Jaunt’s electric creations proved to be the perfect vehicle for David Jackson, who works in Melbourne’s tech sector.

“I think the first thing was that I was looking for something with a little soul …”, explained Mr. Jackson. “There are so many bland, unmarked vehicles on the road out there. “

Jackson stumbled across Jaunt’s first model, a short-wheelbase Land Rover named Juniper, and found exactly what he was looking for.

“The idea of ​​something that was a little different and had a story behind it… it was touching, elegant and timeless, so I really resonated with that.”

While many drive an electric car for its exhaust emissions and zero environmental impacts, Jackson was drawn to the quiet operation and smooth experience of driving his wife’s electric car.

“I like the serenity of driving it. It’s so zen to be in it, ”he said. “And I love the experience of electricity, being able to charge at home, not having to go to a gas station.

“When I talked to Dave [at Jaunt] and figured out Jaunt’s story, that’s what finally got me across the line.

“I just loved the idea of ​​reuse, all that aluminum and steel that otherwise would just sit in an enclosure and be wasted. Bringing that back to life seemed like a very, very beautiful story to me, and so I enjoyed this trip. “

When Jackson finally takes delivery of his new Jaunt EV, he’ll be using it for the short commute to work when the weather or his schedule prevents him from walking.

And while it can go down the hill every now and then – Jackson opted for a longer-lasting battery – the Jaunt EV will spend the majority of its time on short trips around town.

Jaunt’s business model reflects a growing trend in the world where classic and vintage cars – and old Land Rovers in particular – are becoming something of a poster for the electrification movement.

Electric car adoption in Australia remains a small part of the overall new car market. But, he’s growing up.

Last year to the end of September, Australians bought 1,225 new electric vehicles. That number rose to 3,568 this year, an increase of 191%. Note that these figures exclude Tesla sales, the American manufacturer not disclosing its sales to the authorities.

But, thanks to companies like Jaunt Motors and if other parts of the world are up to the job, an electric automotive future could be coming to Australia sooner than you think. And it could be old cars – silently – leading the way.

Sam purcell

Sam Purcell has been writing about cars, four-wheel drive, and camping since 2013 and has been obsessed with everything that happens longer than he remembers. Sam joined the CarAdvice / Drive team as an off-road editor in 2018, having learned his skills at Unsealed 4X4 and Pat Callinan’s 4X4 Adventures.

Learn more about Sam Purcell

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