Tata Motors-owned Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) on Tuesday confirmed it is developing a prototype hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) based on the novel version of its premium SUV, Land Rover Defender. The 'New Defender FCEV' idea is 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 proclaimed previous month, the firm said in a statement.
It is being developed under the firm's advanced engineering project, known as Project Zeus, which is part-funded by the government-backed Advanced Propulsion Centre.
"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," the firm added.
The advancement of the prototype FCEV would permit 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, it said.
JLR said the zero tailpipe emission of the prototype New Defender FCEV would start testing towards the end of 2021 in the UK to verify key attributes such as off-road capability and fuel consumption.
JLR Head of Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Ralph Clague stated, "We know 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."
Clague added that the work done along with the firm's partners in Project Zeus would support it on its journey to become a net zero carbon business by 2039, "as we prepare for the next generation of zero tailpipe emissions vehicles".
FCEVs generate electricity from hydrogen to power an electric motor. Hydrogen-powered FCEVs deliver 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, JLR said.
Such vehicles are complementary to battery electric vehicles (BEVs) on the journey to net zero vehicle emissions, the firm said.
It added that since 2018, the global number of FCEVs on the road has closely doubled while hydrogen refuelling stations have increased by more than 20 per cent.
By 2030, forecasts foresee hydrogen-powered FCEV deployment could top 10 million with 10,000 refuelling stations worldwide, JLR stated, quoting Hydrogen Council data.