Fleet News

Land Rover investigates hydrogen fuel cell use with Defender prototype

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is developing a prototype hydrogen fuel cell vehicle that is expected to being testing later this year.

The development vehicle, based on the new Land Rover Defender, will be used as a test bed to establish how a hydrogen powertrain can be optimised to deliver the necessary performance and capability required by Land Rover customers.

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

The engineering project, known as Project Zeus, is part funded by the government-backed Advanced Propulsion Centre. It forms part of JLR’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 the Reimagine strategy announced last month.

“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,” Clague added.

JLR believes hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, 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.

They provide high energy density and rapid refuelling, with 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 fuel cell vehicles on the road has nearly doubled, while hydrogen refuelling stations have increased by more than 20%. By 2030, forecasts predict hydrogen-powered vehicle deployment could top 10 million with 10,000 refuelling stations worldwide.

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

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