Jaguar Land Rover announced on June 15 that it is developing a hydrogen-powered fuel cell luxury SUV based off its Land Rover Defender.
The prototype is set to be tested in the U.K. later this year, where checks on its key attributes like off-road capability and fuel consumption will happen. But no indication as to when we can expect to see the fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) on our roads has been shared yet.
The FCEV concept is part of the company's larger aim to achieve zero tailpipe emissions by 2036, and net zero carbon emissions across its supply chain, products, and operations by 2039.
The new FCEV falls under Jaguar Land Rover's Project Zeus, which is working on helping engineers understand how a hydrogen powertrain can be optimized to deliver the performance and capability that the company's clients come to expect, such as long range, quick refill, towing, low temperature performance, and more. The project is partially funded by the Advanced Propulsion Centre.
In order to deliver Project Zeus, and to bring to life the prototype FCEV, Jaguar Land Rover has teamed up with Delta Motorsport, AVL, Marelli Automotive Systems, and the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre.
"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," said Ralph Clague, Head of Hydrogen and Fuel Cells at Jaguar Land Rover.
As the company's announcement stated, FCEVs are complimentary to battery electric vehicles (BEVs), and generate electricity from hydrogen to power an electric motor. Hydrogen-powered FCEVs typically provide quick refueling, high energy density, and little loss of range in low temperatures — all of which work well for larger, longer-range vehicles like Land Rover's Defender, or vehicles that operate in lower and warmer temperatures.
Future Reimagine campaign
The announcement is directly in line with Jaguar Land Rover's Reimagine campaign, announced last month, that will push the automaker towards a sustainability-rich future.
Part of its strategy is to reimagine Jaguar as an all-electric luxury brand from 2025, to develop six pure electric variants for Land Rover in the next five years all while keeping it at the top of the luxury SUV board, and that all Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles will be available in pure electric form by the end of the decade, starting with an all-electric Land Rover model in 2024.
Perhaps the upcoming Land Rover FCEV prototype will end up being the model we see on the roads in 2024.