The Land Rover Discovery and Defender are going their separate ways.

    Automotive News Europe reports the next-generation Discovery will move to the new Electrified Modular Architecture (EMA) that’ll underpin the next Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque.

    The next Defender, in contrast, looks likely to use the Modular Longitudinal Architecture (MLA) of the next-generation Range Rover and Range Rover Sport.

    The current Defender uses a version of the current Discovery’s D7u platform, called D7x, and both models are built at the same Nitra, Slovakia plant.

    D7u is also used by the current Range Rover and Range Rover Sport.

    The new EMA architecture is “battery-native”, designed around either a large battery located in the floor or a smaller hybrid system battery.

    A previous report from Autocar indicated EMA models will also feature a small, range-extending internal combustion engine, in a similar vein to the BMW i3’s range-extender option.

    The first EMA models will reportedly launch in 2024, and the Range Rover Velar is also expected to move to this architecture.

    There are no plans for diesel engines in EMA vehicles, representing a dramatic departure for the Discovery which has always been available with a diesel.

    Autocar also reported EMA will be used by two new members of the Defender family including an all-electric model, with Land Rover turning Defender into somewhat of a sub-brand à la Ford with its Bronco-badged models.

    The new EMA architecture is part of a £10 billion (A$18.19 billion) investment program for Jaguar Land Rover.

    EMA-based vehicles are expected to account for half of all Jaguar Land Rover sales by 2030 – around 340,000 cars – while MLA-based models will account for 40 per cent.

    Jaguar’s electric vehicles, set to use a separate platform, will make up the rest.

    The MLA architecture will also support plug-in hybrid and all-electric powertrains, though it’ll feature larger, longitudinally-mounted internal-combustion engines.

    The first new MLA models are expected to debut within the next 12-18 months.

    All Land Rover models are set to move further upmarket.

    Chief Creative Officer Gerry McGovern told investors earlier in 2021 that future Discovery models would be positioned more toward the Range Rover than ever before.

    “Our next generation of Discoveries will be moved into that world of luxury, too,” said Mr McGovern.

    While the Defender 110’s available third row isn’t as spacious as that of the Discovery, the Defender has already eaten into Discovery sales, and the upcoming, stretched Defender 130 could do more damage.

    In the first four months of this year, Land Rover has sold 548 Defenders in Australia but only 91 examples of the Discovery.

    Discovery sales were down 68.5 per cent on the same period last year.

    The Discovery was also the slowest-selling Land Rover vehicle in the first quarter of this year globally, with the company selling almost five times as many Defenders.

    MORE: Land Rover Discovery news and reviews

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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