Why did they stop making the Land Rover Defender?

This time last week I wrote about electric cars, Moore’s Law and the Kardashev scale.

It’s always great to hear from our members and I look forward to the comments on the ‘thoughts’ that I send out – thank you, please keep them coming.

Below is one reply that I particularly enjoyed and thought that I would share with you …

Thanks for your thoughts, Douglas.

They call to my mind the question “Why did they stop making the Land Rover Defender?”; the answer to which we might think is “Lack of demand from buyers” – not true – or maybe “Old design of engine not good enough for EU emissions rules” – no, it wasn’t that either.

For a while it has been on my mind that most car miles are travelled with a single person in the car – the driver. So, a person weighing probably less than 100kg schleps around approximately 1000kg of metal with him to get from A to B. This is insanely inefficient.

My take on personal transport in the future is a series of what ifs.

What if people demand smaller, lighter vehicles to get around in? Like this little beauty.

b2(A 2-parent, 2-child family would need two of these little things, but so what? There are loads of two-car families around the UK as it is.)

What if we start taking exercise more seriously (or governments incentivise their people to do so) and, for short journeys, opt for something like the (electrically-assisted) Podbike below?
b3

Or something between the two? Current legislation defines three-wheelers as motorcycles and there is no requirement for fairings to offer crash-protection, so even a fully-enclosing fairing would not add much weight to the thing. Perhaps we could have a fully-faired three-wheel ‘motorcycle’ weighing 250kg ferrying two people around in the dry.

I read recently that the whole planet’s current energy requirements could be met by harnessing the energy from the Sun falling on a small percentage of the Earth’s land area (For example various deserts within, say, 30 degrees of the Equator); so, what if humanity got their act together to exploit the world’s deserts for solar energy?

Finally, the reason the Defender was canned was because it was deemed by the EC to be ‘too solid’. Other supposedly ‘safe’ cars with excellent NCAP ratings were simply obliterated in crash tests with the Defender! What if this marks the high tide mark in the decades-long trend of ever-heavier cars in the quest for ever-safer cars? What if the authorities accept the need for lighter vehicles, requiring less energy to propel them? And, to address safety concerns arising therefrom, we limit vehicles’ ability to hare around at crazy speeds? Given the right incentives, people would respond favourably to such developments.

When all is said and done, I think your conclusion is correct: tech funds should continue to do well for decades to come.

Wishing you a rewarding 2019,

Mark