Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is developing a prototype hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) based on its Land Rover Defender, the automaker has announced.
With testing starting this year, the concept vehicle is part of the company’s plan to achieve zero tailpipe emissions by 2036 and net zero carbon emissions across its supply chain, products and operations by 2039.
In February, JLR said it would stop building combustion engine cars by 2025, matching similar commitments from other industry players, such as Ford and General Motors. JLR said its new FCEVs, which generate electricity from hydrogen to power an electric motor, will be built alongside “battery-electric vehicles” rather than instead of.
Hydrogen-powered FCEVs offer high energy density, fast refueling and minimal range loss at low temperatures, making the technology ideal for larger, longer-range vehicles or vehicles operating in hot or cold environments.
Since 2018, the global number of FCEVs on the road has nearly doubled, while hydrogen filling stations have increased by more than 20 percent – although only a handful are open to the public in the UK. According to some predictions, the deployment of hydrogen-powered FCEV could exceed 10 million by 2030 with 10,000 filling stations worldwide.
To realize the project, JLR worked with R&D partners including Delta Motorsport, AVL, Marelli Automotive Systems and the UK Battery Industrialization Center (UKBIC) to research, develop and create the prototype FCEV.
“We know that hydrogen will play a role in the future mix of powertrains across the transport sector, and in addition to battery-powered electric vehicles, it also offers a new exhaust emissions solution for the specific capabilities and requirements of Jaguar Land Rover’s world-class vehicles.
”, says Ralph Clague, head of hydrogen and fuel cells at JLR. “The work we’ve done with our partners in Project Zeus will help us on our journey to become a net-zero carbon company by 2039, as we prepare for the next generation of zero-emission vehicles.
” While rival manufacturers Toyota and Hyundai already offer hydrogen-powered vehicles, other companies have largely ignored the technology and focused on electric cars instead. Jim Holder, editor-in-chief of What Car?
magazine and website, said the announcement was “a very significant moment” for the auto industry as the Land Rover brand is “synonymous” with SUVs, which have been criticized for their environmental impact. . He told the PA news agency:
“To face the future, Land Rover needs to show technical leadership, especially around electrification, and to that end a vehicle prototype to collect data on the viability of zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell technology is extremely positive news for the company and his customers.
“Hydrogen is quick to fill up, only takes minutes to fill a tank with enough for 300 miles of driving, and – some experts argue – a better long-term environmental solution than battery-powered electric cars.
“Test beds like Land Rover’s are an important step in exploring its potential.” The UK currently plans to ban new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 as part of efforts to reduce the UK’s CO2 emissions to zero by 2050.