Jaguar Land Rover to begin testing hydrogen fuel-cell prototype Land Rover Defender vehicle

In a statement on Tuesday, Jaguar Land Rover said, it will begin testing a hydrogen based fuel-cell prototype model based on its Land Rover Defender vehicle later this year. The development sees the carmaker expand its zero-emission portfolio.

Owned by India’s Tata Motors, earlier this year, JLR said it aims to be entirely electric by 2025. It also mentioned that it plans on launching 6 pure electric models of its rugged, off-road Land Rover brand over the next five years. 

While many players in the auto industry are focusing their efforts on developing battery-electric cars to meet stringesnt emission standards in Europe, JLR is among a small group of carmakers which are betting on the mass adoption of hydrogen fuel cells – which emit only water as they produce electricity.

Hydrogen fuel cells “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,” said JLR.

The hydrogen Land Rover Defender will undergo tests to “verify key attributes such as off-road capability and fuel consumption,” said the company in a statement.

Hydrogen fuel cells provide greater range compared to their battery-electric cousins, however it needs a fuelling infrastructure in place to support mass adoption.

Incidentally, BMW has also forayed into the hydrogen fuel-cell sector and plans a limited series of hydrogen fuel cell model SUV in 2022 as it continues to research zero-emission alternatives to battery-electric cars.

In December 2020, Toyota Motor Corp unveiled its revamped Mirai hydrogen fuel cell car, in a fresh push to promote the zero-emission technology midst rapidly growing demand for electric vehicles. 

Honda Motor Co and Hyundai Motor have both developed fuel-cell models.

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