(Pocket-lint) - Twisted is a company that specialises in Land Rover Defender conversions. The aim is to make the Defender the best it can be, while maintaining the very ethos of what a Defender is.
When offered the opportunity to drop in on the showroom in London's Kensington and take a closer look at the rare electrified Defender, it seemed too good to miss.
We say rare, because this Defender EV isn't something that's being mass produced. You can get one - if you're willing to pay for it - but it will be hand-built to order. Charles Fawcett, Twisted founder, explained to us that they had a few orders in from overseas, so this is more than just a prototype, but it's likely to be the preserve of a Defender fan who wants a zero emission version for their garage.
It's a conversion of a 2015 Defender 90, but sticks to Twisted's aim of subtle alteration. Twisted isn't about dressing up Defenders to make them look pretty, so at first glance, you don't even know you're looking at an EV.
Of course there are changes here that are more commonplace on Twisted's Defenders. There's fancy wheels and chunky tyres, branded brakes that you'll spot through the spokes of the wheels, as well as an uprated interior.
That all results in the Defender EV being a little nicer to sit in than a regular Defender. While the functional form looks the same, the sporty seats, Twisted steering wheel and leather trim makes it a more premium experience.
Pop the hood and you'll find the big changes. There's not a lot to see, because it's mostly covered, but there's now no combustion engine. Instead, there's a 200kW motor mated to the transmission and battery split fore and aft, using space in the engine bay and replacing the fuel tank at the rear.
The filler cap is replaced with a Type 2 plug, which will charge at up to 22kW. That's not hugely fast when compared to many modern EVs, but then this Defender isn't trying to compete with those models.
There's still a fan behind the front grille and that's because there's still a cooling system in place that can cool the battery and motor and there's been a change on the driver display to include motor temperature. The analogue dials are maintained, they're just repurposed for their new job in an EV.
Returning to the motor. It's a 200kW motor and like many such conversions, Twisted has preserved the Defender's drivetrain. That means it still offers high and low ratios and maintains all its offroading skills.
But that's also brought about quite a big change, because in the original vehicle, there would be a mechanical lever to shift between high and low ratio and to lock the differential. That's now had to be replaced with a digital system.
That means there are buttons to put it in drive - including a mode button - as well as a display that to handle some of those more advanced driving options.
The modes on offer switch between eco and sport, the former offering regeneration and the latter letting the vehicle freewheel without the resistance, so there's a choice about how this model drives.
Jumping behind the wheel, the Twisted Defender EV feels much like any other Defender. Maintaining the layout, the slightly odd position of the handbrake for example, brings the sense that things haven't been changed for the sake of changing them - for the most part it's a wonderfully manual experience.
There is, of course, no thrum from the engine, no smell of exhaust, no vibration in the cabin when sitting in idle and driving the Defender EV is almost as easy as driving any other EV. But there's more of a Defender feeling to things.
With chunky tyres the steering needs to be worked, the pedals need a proper push rather than a gentle touch - there's a sense that this vehicle isn't going to do anything for you.
It jiggles over the broken roads and there's no avoiding the noise that comes from those all-terrain tyres and you could, if you wanted a quieter and softer ride, switch to a slightly more conventional bit of rubber.
But to do so would take away from the Defender what it was born to do, because at its heart, this is still that offroading stalwart - and even after all the conversions, it's still entirely functional in the rough stuff.
If you feel that you want a Defender EV from Twisted, the price sits at £225,000.