Hydrogen-Powered Land Rover Defender FCEV To Begin Testing Soon

Land Rover Defender

Jaguar Land Rover will start testing a Defender FCEV prototype towards the end of this year, as a part of its zero-emissions future plan

Jaguar Land Rover has revealed that it is currently working on fuel cell technology. It is developing a prototype fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) based on the current-gen Land Rover Defender SUV, which is slated to enter the testing phase by the end of this year. The prototype will undergo trials to “verify key attributes such as off-road capability and fuel consumption”, the company stated.

The FCEV is being developed under “Project Zeus”, funded partly by the UK government-backed Advanced Propulsion Centre. JLR has an aggressive electrification plan for the future; Jaguar will axe all IC engines by 2025, while Land Rover will launch six fully electric models over the next five years. Jaguar Land Rover aims to achieve zero emissions by 2036, and become carbon neutral in all its operations by 2039.

For Project Zeus, JLR has teamed up with several big names, like Delta Motorsport, Marelli Automotive Systems, AVL, and UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC), to help with the research and development of the Defender FCEV prototype. The project will help the company’s engineers better understand hydrogen powertrains, and optimise them for use in vehicles.

Jaguar Land Rover hydrogen FCEV graphic

Ralph Clague, Head of Hydrogen and Fuel Cells, Jaguar Land Rover, was quoted saying, “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.”

Compared to traditional battery EVs, fuel cell vehicles have a few advantages. FCEVs can be refuelled much more rapidly, compared to the long charging times of batteries, and the loss of range in cold temperatures is also minimal. In a fuel cell vehicle, the tailpipe emissions consist only of water vapour, free of any harmful exhaust gases.

P400e Land Rover Defender 110 PHEV off road

As per International Energy Agency (IEA), the number of FCEVs on the roads around the globe has almost doubled since 2018, and the number of hydrogen filling stations has increased by 20 per cent. By 2030, Hydrogen Council predicts that there will be 10,000 hydrogen refuelling stations around the world.