Land Rover is embarking on Project Failure, known internally as Project Zeus. Project Failure’s mission is to develop a hydrogen fuel cell prototype vehicle. It is yet another example of Land Rover’s dinosaur blinkered thinking and philosophy into next-generation zero-emissions motoring. Battery-powered vehicles will become the norm and they have their advantages and disadvantages for sure. For example, battery power vehicles need to move away from relying on mining rare earth materials. And there is still the whole production lifecycle issue, just how green is it to manufacture an electric car? Hydrogen fuel cell technology also has upsides and downsides. Hydrogen is an abundant element but is energy-intensive and therefore costly to produce, as much as oil production.
The sun is composed of 73% hydrogen, we can see and feel the colossal energy the hydrogen-powered sun provides. A hydrogen powered vehicle uses 40-60% of the fuel’s energy while reducing fuel consumption by 50%. Most petrol engines are up to 20% efficient while diesel-powered vehicles are up to 40%. However, battery-electric cars offer up to 90% efficiency but are not as range efficient. Hydrogen fuel cells also require the use of expensive precious metals such as platinum and iridium.
Hydrogen storage is also another issue. Liquid hydrogen has to be stored at high pressure and cryogenic temperatures. Hydrogen turns into a liquid when it is cooled to a temperature below -252,87 °C. In liquid form, it is significantly more combustible than petrol. Static from your finger is enough to set off a chain reaction. Nevertheless, hydrogen fuel cell cars are available and there are no reports of safety breaches. But they are sold in limited numbers. And this reflects the limited investment in the hydrogen fuel infrastructure.
So why is Land Rover even bothering with Project Failure when battery electric-powered vehicles is clearly the way to go? Why is Land Rover suddenly latching onto Hydrogen fuel cells? They should have started lobbying the government 10 years ago, 20 years ago not now in 2021 when this great transition to zero-emissions motoring is beginning. Why didn’t Land Rover develop hydrogen-powered prototypes 10 years ago, 20 years ago?
Because Land Rover is a dinosaur, it doesn’t have the money nor the capacity to think ahead. It is a company reliant on the media constantly remind them just how great they are at standing still. Land Rover is head down, chewing grass unaware that a giant asteroid is heading towards it. And now, upon a sudden, it wants to promote hydrogen fuel cell technology that nobody wants. Instead of investing in a zero-emissions future, Land Rover invested over £500M (back in 2014) in a new engine production facility.
Project Failure is simply a way to protect their dying engine manufacturing assets and investment. And to bolster their highway to hydrogen they are employing news organsiations with clout to act as a messenger thereby manufacturing consent. This particular article by the Daily Mail is well written but clearly flag-waving for Land Rover. The article complains about “serious technological problems” facing battery-electric cars without ever specifying the problems. WTAF?
The article also points out that the electric car infrastructure is very limited. Out of the 42,000 public electric car chargers, only 10,500 offer fast charging capability to a nation of 32M drivers. And while blindly cheerleading for hydrogen the article then points out that there are currently 11 fuel stations offering hydrogen refueling for the entirety of the UK. In his own words, the author is unintentionally admitting hydrogen is not the alternative fuel for zero-emissions motoring.
The stupidity of the D M article reflects the stupidity of Land Rover’s blinkered thinking into zero-emissions motoring. Land Rover is deliberately stalling not progressing. Did Land Rover choose a news organisation to manufacture consent on its behalf? We can’t say for sure but wouldn’t be surprised. We’ve seen how they bribe, sorry wine and dine motoring journalists. The article could have made a concise RA-RA argument for hydrogen fuel cells.
Instead, it is a documented wrecking ball into Land Rover’s treadmill approach that will ultimately define Project Failure.