Image: Jaguar Land Rover

Jaguar Land Rover is creating a hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) prototype based on the new Land Rover Defender, with testing beginning this year.

The FCEV concept is part of Jaguar Land Rover’s ambition to reach zero tailpipe emissions by 2036 and net zero carbon emissions across its supply chain, products, and operations by 2039, as outlined last month in the Reimagine plan.

FCEVs, which use hydrogen to create electricity for an electric motor, complement battery electric vehicles (BEVs) on the path to net zero vehicle emissions. Hydrogen-powered FCEVs offer high energy density, rapid refueling, and minimal range loss in cold temperatures, making them ideal for larger, longer-range vehicles or those operated in extreme heat or cold.

Since 2018, the global number of FCEVs on the road has nearly doubled while hydrogen refuelling stations have expanded by more than 20 percent *. By 2030, predictions indicate that hydrogen-powered FCEV deployment will exceed 10 million worldwide, with 10,000 refueling stations.

Jaguar Land Rover’s advanced engineering project, dubbed Project Zeus, is partially funded by the government-backed Advanced Propulsion Centre and will enable engineers to better understand how a hydrogen powertrain can be optimized to deliver the performance and capability expected by customers: from range to refueling, towing to off-road capability.

The zero-emission prototype New Defender FCEV will begin testing in the United Kingdom by the end of 2021 to evaluate critical characteristics such as off-road capability and fuel consumption.

Jaguar Land Rover has collaborated with world-class research and development partners, including Delta Motorsport, AVL, Marelli Automotive Systems, and the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC), to research, develop, and build the FCEV prototype.

“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 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 vehicle.” Ralph Clague, head of hydrogen and fuel cells, Jaguar Land Rover.

Nedim Husomanovic

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