Jaguar Land Rover to develop hydrogen-powered Defender fuel cell prototype

Land Rover Defender (European Model). Photo courtesy Jaguar/Land Rover; Newspress USA.

Jaguar Land Rover is developing a prototype hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) based on the new Land Rover Defender, with testing scheduled to begin towards the end of 2021 in the UK to verify key attributes such as off-road capability and fuel consumption.

The FCEV concept is part of Jaguar Land Rover’s aim to achieve zero tailpipe emissions by 2036, and net zero carbon emissions across its supply chain, products and operations by 2039, in line with its Reimagine strategy.

FCEVs, which generate electricity from hydrogen to power an electric motor, are complimentary to battery electric vehicles (BEVs) on the journey to net zero vehicle emissions.

Hydrogen-powered FCEVs provide high energy density and rapid refuelling, and minimal loss of range in low temperatures, making the technology ideal for larger, longer-range vehicles, or those operated in hot or cold environments.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), since 2018, the global number of FCEVs on the road has nearly doubled while hydrogen refuelling stations have increased by more than 20 per cent. By 2030, the Hydro Council forecasts predict hydrogen-powered FCEV deployment could top 10 million with 10,000 refuelling stations worldwide.

Jaguar Land Rover’s advanced engineering project, known as Project Zeus, is part funded by the UK government-backed Advanced Propulsion Center, and will allow engineers to understand how a hydrogen powertrain can be optimized to deliver the performance and capability expected by its customers: from range to refuelling, and towing to off-road ability.