Testing starts this year on a hydrogen-powered version of the iconic Land Rover Defender 4×4.

The FCEV concept is part of Jaguar Land Rover’s plan to achieve zero tailpipe emissions by 2036 — and net zero carbon emissions across its supply chain, products and operations by 2039.

FCEVs generate electricity by using hydrogen to power an electric motor and if Land Rover can perfect the technology, it represent a better solution for off roaders.

That’s because hydrogen-powered FCEVs provide high energy density and rapid refuelling, with a minimal loss of range in low temperatures, making the technology ideal for larger, longer-range vehicles — or those operated in hot or cold environments.

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, 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 government-backed Advanced Propulsion Centre, and will allow engineers to understand how a hydrogen powertrain can be optimised to deliver the performance and capability expected by its customers: from range to refuelling, and towing to off-road ability.  

The zero tailpipe emission prototype New Defender FCEV will begin testing towards the end of 2021 in the UK to verify key attributes such as off-road capability and fuel consumption. 

To deliver Project Zeus, Jaguar Land Rover has teamed up with world class R&D partners, including Delta Motorsport, AVL, Marelli Automotive Systems and the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) to research, develop and create the prototype FCEV.

Head of Hydrogen and Fuel Cells for Jaguar Land Rover, Ralph Clague, said hydrogen has a role to play in the future powertrain mix across the whole transport industry.

“Alongside battery electric vehicles, it offers another zero tailpipe emission solution for the specific capabilities and requirements of Jaguar Land Rover’s world class line-up of vehicles,” he said.

“The work done alongside our partners in Project Zeus will help us on our journey to become a net zero carbon business by 2039, as we prepare for the next generation of zero tailpipe emissions vehicles.”

 

CHECKOUT: Nah, that’s not the Defender — is it?

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Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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