If you think EVs are the future, then you’re right. But if you believe there is nothing else out there that is also kind to the polar bears and equally practical, you’d be wrong. Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles aren’t exactly the latest buzz, as they have been around for quite some time. First introduced in 1966, they only gained popularity recently with cars like the Hyundai Tucson FCEV and the Toyota Mirai. They have become the closest rivals to a lithium-ion battery pack in your run-of-the-mill EV. Hence, it’s only natural that manufacturers also look at hydrogen fuel cells as an alternative to EVs.
The latest update comes in the form of Jaguar Land Rover, who is all set to enter the hydrogen fuel cell game with an FCEV to be launched based on the new Defender. Yes, the butch, rough and rugged SUV that also made it into the upcoming Bond flick will now be as quiet as Bond’s enemies after he is done with them.
The project comes in light of JLRs goal to achieve zero tailpipe emissions by 2036 and zero carbon emission across its supply chain, products and operations by 2039.
The two main advantages of a hydrogen-powered car are the short waiting time as they can be refuelled just like a conventional petrol-powered car and more extended range and sustainability in extreme conditions. By that logic, the Defender is pretty much the best base they can get.
In extreme conditions, the loss of range is minimal, and a hydrogen-powered car is better suited for long-distance trips as well.
As is the case with most EVs, the frequency of hydrogen filling stations is shockingly low. There is a gradual rise globally, but it still is nowhere close to an electric charging station. However, if forecasts are anything to go by, there will likely be over 10,000 hydrogen fuel stations worldwide. And with the rate at which petrol prices are in India, we sure hope some of them make it here as well.
Testing for the Defender FCEV will commence starting December 2021, so there is a fair amount of waiting before you can spook someone with a mighty Defender coming up behind them in utter silence.
Meanwhile, if you want one in India, you will have to stick with the traditional engine or buy the new Jaguar I-Pace.
Ralph Clague, Head of Hydrogen and Fuel Cells for Jaguar Land Rover, said: “We know hydrogen has a role to play in the future powertrain mix across the whole transport industry, and alongside battery electric vehicles, it offers another zero tailpipe emission solution for the specific capabilities and requirements of Jaguar Land Rover’s world class line-up of vehicles. The work done alongside our partners in Project Zeus will help us on our journey to become a net zero carbon business by 2039, as we prepare for the next generation of zero tailpipe emissions vehicles.”