Land Rover working on hydrogen fuel cell Defender prototype for later this year

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If you are a fan of Land Rover vehicles, you’re likely aware of the fact that the company wants to become a zero emission carmaker by 2036. It is an ambitious plan given its heritage in terms of fossil fuel powered cars, the most iconic of which is the Defender. It is why the very same model is being used to test out new hydrogen fuel cell technology that Land River is working on, with a prototype Defender expected to be revealed in the UK later this year.

This plan is dubbed Project Zeus by Land Rover and will also be involving the Jaguar motoring division too. These hydrogen fuel cells use a with of hydrogen and oxygen in order to produce the electricity required to powered the vehicle and their only emission is water. As such, it represents a step beyond the current electric vehicles, which are seen as the gold standard in terms of environmentally friendly motoring at the moment.

Some of the elements that Project Zeus will aim to deliver long-term include:

  • “Development of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle.
  • Meeting Jaguar Land Rover attributes such as long range, quick refill, towing, off road capabilities and low temperature performance. 
  • Includes the development of class-leading high performance battery.”

Project Zeus is also being carried out in partnership with the Advanced Propulsion Center, which is backed by the UK government. As such, the technology that this project yields could be used as a framework for other car manufacturers down the line.

We could therefore see a Defender on the UK roads later this year that is far different from the one in the header image above, which is the new Defender 90 V8. Whether Land Rover will be able to yield the same performance from a hydrogen-powered option compared its latest crop of petrol ones, remains to be seen.

That said, it will need to, as Jaguar is also planning to be zero emission by 2039.

Either way, with its desire to be fully electric by 2025, it looks like Jaguar-Land Rover is one of the cleaner energy frontrunners when in the motoring field. How diehard Defender fans will feel about, is unclear for now.

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Editor of Hypertext. Covers smartphones, IoT, 5G, cloud computing and a few things in between. Also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games when not taking the hatchet to stories.

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