AN experimental hydrogen powered Land Rover Defender is being developed as the British off-road specialist expands its alternative fuel plans.
Trials are due to begin before the year is out under what Land Rover is calling its Project Zeus programme.
The fuel cell electric vehicle concept is part of Jaguar Land Rover's aim to achieve zero tailpipe emissions by 2036, and net zero carbon emissions across its supply chain, products and operations by 2039.
FCEVs generate electricity from hydrogen to power an electric motor and are complimentary to battery electric vehicles on the journey to net zero vehicle emissions.
The only waste product from a fuel cell vehicle is water.
Hydrogen-powered FCEVs provide 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.
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.
In the UK Toyota, Hyundai and Honda currently have hydrogen powered vehicles in their line ups, although most filling stations are clustered in the south east of England.
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."
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 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 research and development partners, including Delta Motorsport, AVL, Marelli Automotive Systems and the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) to research, develop and create the prototype FCEV.