Technology: New armored vehicles: Play it safe, even electrically

So far some have tried – none have succeeded.

Technology: New armored vehicles: Play it safe, even electrically

So far some have tried – none have succeeded. BMW is the first large-scale manufacturer to have its new luxury model of the BMW 7 Series armored as an electric version from next year. With this, the Bavarians want to eliminate a painful nick, because the current generation of the seven-seater BMW (G11/12), in contrast to the noble competition from the Audi A8 and Mercedes S-Class, was not available as a factory armor. In the end, the problems within the project development were so great that it was left to sleep. For this reason, top politicians were out and about with the old tank models of the F02 series all these years, and the secure business people switched completely to the more modern competition.

But that should now be shot. From autumn 2023, BMW will again have a luxury sedan with the highest civil protection class VR10 in its portfolio in addition to the X5 Security VR6. And while the Mercedes S 680 Guard or Audi A8 are only available with combustion engines, BMW wants to lure those politicians with the armored BMW i7 who value an ecological image above all else. The effort to armor a sedan like the BMW ex works is immense, since the vehicle looks like a normal BMW 7 series from the outside, but has hardly anything in common with it, especially in the passenger compartment. The effort is even greater for a battery-electric vehicle like the BMW i7. It is made even heavier by the battery pack in the underbody and it is precisely here that it has to be secured against attacks such as booby traps. "We will continue the tradition in 2023 with a high-security vehicle that combines the dynamics, driving comfort and interior comfort of the new BMW 7 Series with an integrated protection concept that is unique in the competitive environment," explains BMW CEO Oliver Zipse Based on the BMW i7, we are bringing a fully electric high-security vehicle onto the road - without compromising on protection for our customers. In doing so, we are demonstrating how sustainability and safety go hand in hand.”

The BMW 7 Series and i7 High Security are produced at the Dingolfing main plant. "The new BMW i7 combines a unique all-electric driving experience with the most advanced technology package in the entire industry," says BMW Board Member for Development Frank Weber. BMW already showed a near-production version of a BMW X5 Protection with protection class VR6, which was powered by a fuel cell, at the International Motor Show in Munich in autumn 2021.

Jaguar Land Rover also wants to meet the increased demand for armored off-road vehicles. For many years, JLR armored the two now discontinued models of the Jaguar XJ and the previous Range Rover in its SVO - Special Vehicle Operations department for government and authorities. Soon the new Range Rover will also be presented in protection class VR10 and will be supplemented by the Land Rover Defender 110. However, the Defender was not developed at JLR and is not manufactured there. The security specialist Trasco, based in Bremen, takes care of that. For decades, Trasco had converted various models into armored versions. After it became economically difficult, the restart should now succeed with cooperation partner JLR. The Land Rover Defender 110 is available in the two protection classes VR4 and VR6, which are particularly popular in South America because of the high level of street crime. In Europe, the light protection class is particularly popular with special police units.

Visually, a model like the Land Rover Defender 110 as a VR4 / VR6 is difficult to recognize as a protection version. During the conversion of the series vehicle, normal building materials are replaced by light safety materials such as special steel, armored glass or composite materials. After the successful Trasco conversion, the Defender is protected against external attacks on the doors, windows, roof and underbody. Like the BMW X5 Protection, there is a second security cell behind the normal tailgate, which protects the vehicle from being shot at from behind. “The Defender is the most capable Land Rover ever created. The collaboration with Trasco makes it even more resilient," says Nick Collins, Director Vehicle Programs at Land Rover. "Thanks to the new light armor from Trasco, the multi-award-winning Defender has become a robust and versatile as well as discreet refuge for the passengers who are on a value a higher degree of protection and safety against external influences.” In addition, as a special protection vehicle, the Brit can be equipped with additional equipment details that provide additional safety for the occupants: fire extinguishing system for the engine compartment, blue lights / siren, intercom system, tires with run-flat properties, heavy duty -window regulators, ballistic underbody protection or a self-sealing fuel tank.