Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has begun developing new hydrogen fuel-cell technology for its flagship limousines and large SUVs.
The special research project, working under the ‘Project Zeus’ banner, has been given a deadline to introduce its first fuel-cell powered vehicle in around 2025, reports Autocar.
The first vehicle likely to receive the zero-emission tech rumoured to be the all-new third-generation Range Rover Evoque.
Hydrogen fuel-cells will then be rolled out to larger vehicles that could include both the Jaguar XJ and the flagship full-size Range Rover.
It’s thought hydrogen power, will be introduced alongside the car-maker’s all-new pure-electric tech to give markets like the UK and Norway another option in the void left by the ban of the sale of internal combustion engines.
Countries like UK have already said it will ban the sale of petrol, diesel and hybrids by 2035 while countries like Norway has declared consumers will no longer be able to purchase cars with internal combustion engines from 2025.
In the build up to the full launch of its hydrogen-powered cars, JLR will soon unveil a concept that will be driveable that’s reportedly likely to be Range Rover Evoque-sized.
The main draw of hydrogen power is it offers vehicles a long range and rapid-refuelling that will soon be comparable to filling up a petrol or diesel.
Commenting on Project Zeus, JLR engineering chief Nick Rogers said: “We’re looking for the right propulsion systems – ones that see minimum interference to the environment.
“Hydrogen is an ideal application for the bigger vehicles [in our line-up], because the bigger the car, you get diminishing returns [when using] battery packs. The amount of energy you can store in a battery for a given amount of weight means you’re in a position where you’re making the cars that are so heavy, they’re using [a lot] of energy just to cart that heavy weight about.”
Toyota and Hyundai have both already committed to rolling out more hydrogen-powered vehicles following successful trials with the Mirai and, latterly, the Nexo.
BMW too, has recently announced that it will push its i Hydrogen Next SUV into limited production in 2022 with plans to introduce versions of the X6 and X7 powered by the zero-emission fuel, that only emits water vapour.
The key advantage of hydrogen fuel, particularly for markets like Australia is it can be created by using renewable electricity from wind or solar.
The biggest hurdle at the moment is both the lack of economies of scale and poor infrastructure, plus the high cost of the fuel, as most hydrogen is currently produced using natural gas.
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