Ineos Automotive, the car manufacturing division of British petrochemical giant Ineos Group, plans to begin testing a hydrogen fuel cell prototype of its Land Rover Defender-inspired Grenadier off-roader.
While the first Grenadier 4x4s will reach customers in the third quarter of 2022 powered by BMW gasoline and diesel engines, Ineos says it is also looking further ahead to zero emissions powertrain technology for the future.
The company has announced that a hydrogen fuel cell demonstrator vehicle is under development and will begin testing by the end of 2022 as part of its drive to take “a leading role in the hydrogen revolution.”
It looks like this is a serious project, especially since the company’s partner in developing the Grenadier demonstrator model is AVL, one of the world’s leading automotive powertrain engineering specialists. On top of that, the fuel cell is likely supplied by Hyundai, as Ineos signed an agreement with Korean carmaker in November 2020 for the evaluation of the latter's proprietary fuel cell system used in the Nexo crossover.
“Of the zero emissions technologies being evaluated for future introduction in the Grenadier, the Ineos Automotive team believes that hydrogen fuel cells is the most attractive.”
The company argues that when enabled by sustainably produced green or blue hydrogen, “fuel cells are a very clean way to power vehicles capable of long range between rapid refueling stops.” It also claims that fuel cells “offer significant weight advantages over battery electric vehicles.” The press release also includes the following quote from Ineos Group owner, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, one of Britain's richest individuals.
“Electric cars are ideal for city centres and short journeys. But hydrogen is much better for longer journeys and heavier loads and that requires immediate investment in hydrogen distribution and hydrogen filling stations.”
That said, Ineos Automotive notes that any future alternative-fuel powertrain must retain or even enhance the Grenadier’s performance and capability. There’s another reason behind the carmaker’s preference for hydrogen fuel cells over all-electric powertrains: its parent company already produces over 400,000 tonnes of low carbon hydrogen a year and plans to invest a further €2 billion ($2.33 billion) in new hydrogen production across Europe.
“With the expertise to make it, capture it and store it safely, Ineos is uniquely positioned to be at the heart of green hydrogen development. The last piece of the puzzle is to create a hydrogen infrastructure to support widespread adoption, and Ineos is campaigning hard to make sure this gets done.”
No preliminary specs of the Ineos Grenadier hydrogen fuel cell prototype have been revealed so far.