Press Release

AVL Joins Collaborative Project to Develop Hydrogen-Powered Land Rover Defender Fuel Cell Prototype

AVL and Jaguar Land Rover join forces to deliver zero-tailpipe emissions for premium fuel cell prototype based on the new Land Rover Defender.


Fuel Cell (FC) is one of the key technology elements that will contribute to the decarbonisation of the road transport sector within the next decades and support the ambitious UK Government “Net-Zero” commitment by 2050.

A consortium led by Jaguar Land Rover and including AVL, has secured funding from the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), which is set out to support Research & Development projects for a wide range of cutting-edge technologies including concept fuel cell vehicles.

AVL Powertrain UK Ltd will take on a fundamental role collaborating on the Controls work package with Jaguar Land Rover, developing supervisory controller functionality, managing the functional safety development, as well as being responsible for the integration and calibration activities.

AVL and Jaguar Land Rover will deliver the project with a team of industry leading R&D partners including Delta Motorsport, Marelli Automotive Systems and UKBIC on ‘Project Zeus’ to develop an advanced FC powertrain for a zero tailpipe emissions prototype, based on the Land Rover Defender.

Matthias Wellers, Managing Director, AVL Powertrain UK Ltd said: ‘’AVL work with project partners to make the FCEV concept a reality and establish a leading knowledge hub for hydrogen technology and capabilities in the UK. The project will support the transition from traditional mobility to future propulsion, promoting crucial skill development the UK automotive industry needs.’’

“The demand for clean propulsion is increasing exponentially. Consumers have become more environmentally aware, and legislators are ramping up Net-Zero targets, meaning technology developers are looking for more sustainable solutions for future mobility. More than ever, we need to invest in innovative Research and Development to deliver a cleaner tomorrow.

That is why developing the zero tailpipe emission FCEV prototype, based on the new Land Rover Defender, is a vital enabler of next-generation Fuel Cell power adoption in passenger car applications, which will support bringing the UK closer to realising net-zero emissions and advancing automotive technology on a global stage.” stated Tom Stone, Engineering Centre Manager, AVL Powertrain UK Ltd.

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.”

The zero-tailpipe emission prototype new Defender FCEV will begin testing towards the end of 2021 in the UK to verify key attributes such as off-road capability and fuel consumption.


About Jaguar Land Rover

Reimagining the future of modern luxury by design  Jaguar Land Rover is reimagining the future of modern luxury by design through its two distinct, British brands.

Our current model range embraces fully electric, plug-in hybrid and mild-hybrid vehicles, as well as the latest diesel and petrol engines. Our class-leading Jaguars and Land Rovers are in demand around the world and in 2020 we sold 425,974 vehicles in 127 countries. Land Rover is the global leader of luxury SUVs through its three families of Range Rover, Discovery and Defender. Jaguar is the first ever brand to offer a premium all-electric performance SUV, the Jaguar I-PACE. 

At heart we are a British company, with two major design and engineering sites, three vehicle manufacturing facilities, an Engine Manufacturing Centre and a Battery Assembly Centre in the UK. We also have vehicle plants in China, Brazil, India, Austria and Slovakia. Three of our seven technology hubs are in the UK – Manchester, Warwick (NAIC) and London – with additional sites in Shannon, Ireland, Portland, USA, Budapest, Hungary and Shanghai, China. 

Central to our Reimagine strategy is the electrification of both the Land Rover and Jaguar brands with two clear, distinct personalities. All Jaguar and Land Rover nameplates will be available in pure electric form by the end of the decade. This marks the start of the company’s journey to become a net zero carbon business across its supply chain, products and operations by 2039. As a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Motors since 2008, Jaguar Land Rover has unrivalled access to leading global players in technology and sustainability within the wider Tata Group.

With more than 12,200 employees, AVL is one of the world's leading mobility technology companies for development, simulation, and testing in the automotive industry and in other sectors such as rail, marine, and energy. Based on extensive in-house research activities, AVL delivers concepts, technology solutions, methodologies, and development tools for a greener, safer, and better world of mobility and beyond.

AVL supports international partners and customers in their sustainable and digital transformation. The focus lies on the areas of electrification, software, AI and automation. In addition, AVL supports companies in energy-intensive sectors on their way to a greener and more efficient energy generation and supply.

Innovation is AVL's passion. Together with an international network of experts at more than 90 locations and 45 Tech and Engineering Centers worldwide, AVL is driving the future of mobility. In 2023, the company generated a turnover of 2.05 billion Euros, of which 10 % are invested in R&D activities.

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