WHITLEY, Great Britain: To offer more zero-emissions car options, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) will begin tests on a hydrogen fuel-cell prototype model later this year, which is based on its Land Rover Defender vehicle, the company said on Tuesday.
JLR, owned by India's Tata Motors, earlier this year said its luxury Jaguar brand will be entirely electric by 2025, and the more rugged, off-road Land Rover brand will launch six electric models over the next five years.
The auto industry is increasingly shifting to developing battery-electric cars to meet stringent emission standards in Europe and China.
But JLR, which believes hydrogen has a future role in the auto industry, is one of the few carmakers that sees possibilities for the mass adoption of hydrogen fuel cells, which emit only water as they produce electricity.
Hydrogen fuel cells "provide high energy density and rapid refueling, 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," JLR said.
The hydrogen Land Rover Defender will undergo tests to "verify key attributes, such as off-road capability and fuel consumption," the company said in a release.
Although hydrogen fuel cells offer the prospect of harmless emissions and also provide greater range than battery-electric cars, there is little fueling infrastructure in place to support the mass adoption of the technology.
German carmaker BMW plans a limited series hydrogen fuel cell model SUV in 2022, as it continues to research zero-emission alternatives to battery-electric cars.
In December, Japanese carmaker Toyota Motor Corp unveiled its revamped Mirai hydrogen fuel cell car, in a bid to promote the zero-emission technology amid rapidly growing demand for electric vehicles.