Jaguar Land Rover is one of several automakers who have announced plans to phase out the combustion engine in the coming years. The Jaguar brand will do away with the old ICE in 2025, when the British luxury brand transforms into a company exclusively dedicated to electric vehicles. In the long term, the company owned by Tata Motors will adopt zero emissions by 2036, with the ultimate goal being to become CO2 neutral across the entire supply chain, operations and products by 2039.
Beyond traditional electric vehicles, JLR also invests time and money in the development of fuel cell technology. To this end, he is currently working on a prototype hydrogen-powered Defender scheduled to begin road testing at the end of this year in the UK. Research to create a zero-emission version of the off-roader is part of the company’s “Project Zeus” engineering project, which is partially funded by the government-backed Advanced Propulsion Center.
Technical specifications have not been released, but the adjacent video shows a Defender with two tanks of high-pressure hydrogen flanking a battery that supports the fuel cell and captures the energy generated during braking. The fuel cell is mounted where the combustion engine normally resides, along with an air intake that draws in the air needed to mix with the hydrogen in the fuel cell.
As is the case with the Toyota Mirai, the only emission that comes out of the exhaust is pure water resulting from the chemical reaction in the fuel cell. Land Rover says a hydrogen-powered vehicle has many advantages, including quick refueling and minimal loss of range in colder climates. Infrastructure is still a concern, but the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that there will be 10,000 hydrogen refueling stations by the end of the decade.
As a reminder, Land Rover has already electrified the Defender in more than one way. Along with the mild hybrid powertrains, there is also a P400e model serving as a plug-in hybrid with a 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engine running on an electric motor.
It has a combined power of almost 400 horsepower and 650 Newton-meters (479 pound-feet) of torque, good for a 0-60 mph run in 5.4 seconds and a top speed of 130 mph. It offers an electric range of 27 miles (43 kilometers) thanks to a 19.2 kWh battery.