Jaguar Land Rover


Having been engaged by Land Rover in the development of an electrically powered Land Rover Defender for the safari market in Africa, Dana was called upon to further develop the electric vehicle control concept to enable the assessment of the applicability of an electric Defender for wider use.


An OpenECU™ rapid controls prototyping controller along with the skills provided by the Dana systems engineering team again provided the core vehicle control system for the electric Defender research vehicle, which was formally unveiled at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. An OpenECU solution has three major advantages which made it an ideal choice for the application:

A well-developed embedded controls development tool chain enabling algorithms to be quickly deployed, extended and iterated in the field.
The durability of an electronic vehicle control unit designed to automotive production standards.
The availability of skilled engineering support to work cooperatively with Land Rover’s development team.

The M250 OpenECU remained the central vehicle system controller, providing the integration of the electric vehicle components such as the battery and motor controller along with donor components from a range of vehicles including; electrical power assisted steering, intelligent switch pack for the terrain selection, standard vehicle cluster and driver command inputs. The OpenECU vehicle system controller provides all the vehicle level features including:

High and low voltage start up and shutdown sequencing.
Driver information signals to the original Defender cluster (with revised overlay)
Driver demand signals processing providing exceptional drivability and optimized energy
regeneration regime
Terrain selection and the associated modified control parameters
Hill descent control via closed loop regeneration modulation enhancing the off-road experience whilst simultaneously extending the operating range
Electrically power assisted steering tuned to maximize performance whilst minimizing energy consumption
Fault detection and limp home functions

Results and Impact

The electric Defender research vehicles are acting as a rolling laboratory for Land Rover to assess electric vehicles, even in the most arduous all-terrain conditions, giving the company a chance to evolve and test some of the technologies that may be introduced into future Land Rover models.

Project Features

OpenECU M250 for rapid electric vehicle systems control development
Simulink model based control strategies for electric vehicle drive systems
On-site vehicle development and debug engineering services