Jaguar Hydrogen Powered Cars
In recent times, there’s been a lot of emphasis placed in the automotive sector on producing new eco-friendly vehicles, which can run on fuel sources which have – up until this moment – been either unfeasible, or sub-optimal with regards to performance.
The crunch is on, however, with legislators turning up the heat and nudging the industry to accelerate its own research and development efforts – as the UK government, for example, has announced plans to ban the sale of internal combustion-engined vehicles by 2035 or sooner.
In response to this, Jaguar Land Rover is now pushing forward with a serious research project aimed at developing a hydrogen fuel cell powered version of its larger vehicles.
The project – powerfully titled “Project Zeus” – will likely result in the new generation of fuel technology being made available in time for the next generation Range Rover Evoque, due in the mid 2020’s.
At least, that’s the expectation should the project prove successful.
JLR is Currently working on a number of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) to stand alongside the existing Jaguar I-Pace. A new Jaguar XJ is on the cards, for example.
The hydrogen project, however, could allow for a potent new avenue to be explored, and could give the company a major edge in the rapidly evolving automotive field.
According to JLR product engineering chief Nick Rogers, the company is set to soon reveal a drivable hydrogen fuel cell concept car. With regards to the company’s vision for the project, Rogers is quoted as saying that “we’re looking for the right propulsion systems – ones that see minimum interference to the environment... With hydrogen, we believe there’s a key place [for it in our line-up]. We’re developing and investing in that, and we’re getting great support to do that.”
The new hydrogen cell technology is being seriously considered for use in larger JLR vehicles, particularly in the Land Rover range. Range Rover, Range Rover Sport, and Range Rover Velar, might all be choice candidates for the new technology in light of their size and the travel distance and need for flexibility associated with them.
It has also been proposed that a hydrogen fuel solution could be a potent option for regions lacking battery electric vehicle infrastructure, where rugged off-road vehicles are notably popular.
Although Jaguar could use hydrogen fuel cell technology for upcoming future models, it is more likely to focus on battery electric vehicle solutions, in light of the generally smaller size, and the more road-centric nature of the vehicles.
In pursuing hydrogen fuel cell technology via Project Zeus, JLR are not alone. Notably, BMW are planning a limited production run of an X5-based i Hydrogen Next SUV in 2002.
Nonetheless, JLR seem to be perhaps uniquely poised to benefit from research and development in this direction. Hydrogen is considered an ideal avenue to explore for larger vehicles – especially as battery packs yield diminishing returns the larger and heavier the vehicle in question is; meaning that the weight of the cars ends up consuming more energy than is feasible, based on what the battery can hold.
No doubt, the future holds exciting prospects for Jaguar Land Rover.