Hydrogen is attractive to makers of larger vehicles because it offers a longer range than batteries as well as quicker refueling times.
JLR appointed Ralph Clague, previously director of fuel cell R&D at China’s Great Wall Motor, to the position of head of hydrogen and fuels cells in 2019.
“Hydrogen offers another zero-tailpipe-emissions solution for the specific capabilities and requirements of Jaguar Land Rover’s lineup,” Clague said in a statement.
Land Rover’s announcement follows BMW’s decision in May to sell a limited run of X5 premium large SUVs powered by a hydrogen fuel cell starting in 2022.
BMW has a partnership with Toyota on fuel cells. BMW also has a partnership with JLR to supply V-8 gasoline engines.
Automakers are divided as to the future of fuel cells. The ease of use is offset by criticism that tapping electricity to make hydrogen is an inefficient use of electric power compared with directly charging battery cells.
Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess made the point forcefully in May on Twitter, writing: “The hydrogen car is proven NOT to be the climate solution.”
Diess has since softened his position, writing on Twitter earlier this month that green hydrogen not formed from fossil fuels is essential for decarbonizing “shipping, aviation, steel or cement”. However he said: “For the use in cars, green hydrogen is far too valuable, too rare, too expensive and not efficient compared to electric energy.”
Earlier this month Renault and U.S. hydrogen specialist Plug Power launched a joint venture to develop hydrogen-powered light commercial vehicles
Renault currently has fuel cell variants of the Master van and the small Kangoo van, with several hundred units of the Kangoo on the road in Europe, with a range of about 350 km (218 miles).