A Land Rover Defender Hydrogen Fuel Cell EV Is in the Works

The Land Rover Defender Hydrogen Fuel Cell EV is set to be the first hydrogen-powered car in production. With a range of over 200 miles, it’s expected to be one of the most efficient cars on the market.

The land rover defender hydrogen conversion is a new Land Rover that will be powered by a hydrogen fuel cell.

Jaguar Land Rover, like many other vehicle companies, is gradually transitioning to an all-electric portfolio. Furthermore, the company’s future electric vehicle options would not be limited to crossovers and passenger vehicles. EV versions of SUVs such as the Land Rover Defender will be available. According to recent JLR news, however, battery-powered EVs may not be the only option: hydrogen fuel cells may also be considered.

Jaguar Land Rover is developing a hydrogen-powered Defender EV prototype.

A black 2022 Land Rover Defender V8 parked by a tan stone building

Land Rover Defender V8 in 2022 | Land Rover

The Land Rover Defender has already gained an extra engine choice since its debut for the 2020 model year. The Defender V8, which will join the current turbocharged four-cylinder and mild-hybrid supercharged and turbocharged six-cylinder engines, will be released in 2021. Land Rover has recently stated that it will begin work on a hydrogen fuel cell Defender EV.

Given JLR’s recent cancellation of its planned Range Rover EV, this news may sound strange. It’s worth mentioning, though, that the business cited pollution regulations as the driving force for their decision. In the news announcement for the Land Rover Defender FCEV, dubbed “Project Zeus,” JLR emphasizes emissions as a driving force. The company’s goal of having zero tailpipe emissions by 2036, in particular.

A diagram of the Land Rover Defender EV's hydrogen fuel cell powertrain

Powertrain plan for the Land Rover Defender EV hydrogen fuel cell vehicle | Land Rover

Land Rover hasn’t revealed many precise technical information regarding the hydrogen-powered Defender EV as of this writing. However, the prototype seems to follow a conventional FCEV layout in the picture above. A fuel cell with two high-pressure hydrogen tanks and an air inlet is placed where an internal combustion engine would usually be. Hydrogen and oxygen combine there to provide energy for the engine (s). According to Autoblog, the Defender FCEV also features a battery pack that can supply additional energy when required.

Why is this Land Rover Defender EV powered by hydrogen fuel cells?

 

Because Project Zeus is electric, it should emit less pollutants than an ICE Land Rover Defender. Furthermore, the sole byproduct of a hydrogen fuel cell’s exhaust is water. But why use hydrogen instead of batteries? Especially because, as Car and Driver points out, even in a “hydrogen-rich” state like California, there are still problems with filling station access and hydrogen availability.

While this is a disadvantage, there are many benefits to utilizing a hydrogen fuel cell in the Defender EV. To begin with, fuelling an FCEV is far quicker than recharging a battery-powered EV. Second, according to TechCrunch, hydrogen is a more energy-dense ‘fuel’ source than a battery. Finally, unlike batteries, hydrogen fuel cells are unaffected by high temperatures. That implies an FCEV’s range will not decrease as much as a BEV’s range does in the cold.

It’s also worth mentioning that availability to refueling stations may not be a major disadvantage for much longer. The number of FCEVs on the road has doubled since 2018, according to the International Energy Agency. In addition, the number of refueling stations globally grew by more than 20% from 2018 to 2019. Even yet, it only adds up to 470 stations in total.

When will it be available to dealers?

In 2021, Land Rover intends to begin field testing the Defender EV prototype in real-world circumstances. According to Autoblog, Land Rover intends to test the FCEV SUV’s hauling and off-roading capabilities, as well as its range and recharging rates. However, as of this writing, the corporation has not said whether or not Project Zeus will go into production.

It’s important to note that Land Rover isn’t the only manufacturer looking into hydrogen-powered cars. For the European market, Mercedes-Benz is developing hydrogen trucks. Toyota is also developing a hydrogen-fueled Corolla racing vehicle.

Using hydrogen to power a Land Rover Defender EV isn’t an unusual option, then.

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The jaguar hydrogen car is a Land Rover Defender Hydrogen Fuel Cell EV that Jaguar has been developing for the past few years.

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