THE Ineos Grenadier is a brand new 4×4 so British it was named after a pub.
And Land Rover fans will notice it bears more than a passing resemblance to the UK’s greatest automotive icon, the old Defender.
But while most Grenadier vehicles will be fitted with either a petrol or a diesel engine, like the old Landy that came before it, some will be available with a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain.
Ineos CEO Sir Jim Ratcliffe said: “We believe that hydrogen is the fuel of the future and INEOS is determined to take a leading role in its development.
“When used in a fuel cell, hydrogen only produces water and is the UK’s best chance of reaching its carbon reduction targets”.
“Ineos Automotive is also exploring new opportunities in the hydrogen economy, with a hydrogen fuel cell demonstrator of its Grenadier 4×4 now in development.”
What is a hydrogen fuel cell?
Fuel cells convert compressed hydrogen gas into electricity – and the only exhaust byproduct of this process is pure water.
That makes hydrogen fuel cell vehicles zero-emission.
And in comparison to battery-electric vehicles which might take hours to fully charge, most hydrogen fuel cell cars can be fully refuelled in minutes.
Their range can be many hundreds of miles.
Ineos is developing the fuel cell powertrain for its Grenadier model with Hyundai, already a world leader in hydrogen cars.
Its Nexo model is one of the the best fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) you can buy.
Hydrogen has been touted as a potential solution for long-distance drivers and road haulage where battery-electric vehicles are unviable.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe said: “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.”
Where can I charge a hydrogen car?
The main downside of ultra-clean hydrogen vehicles is the cost and consequent scarcity of hydrogen refuelling stations – there are only around a dozen public hydrogen pumps in the UK, and less than 100 in the US.
This has implications for hydrogen fuel cell vehicle uptake, especially when compared with electric vehicles that can be charged at home.
Sir Jim said: “The issue is that industry can only do so much, and the UK government must start to invest in the development of our hydrogen infrastructure to allow the gas to be much more widely used.
“At the moment, we are massively lagging behind Europe and the gap is starting to grow”.
Originally designed to be the “spiritual successor” to the Land Rover, it is a utilitarian 4×4 aimed at farmers and workers who need to access inhospitable terrain.
Ineos is a global chemical company, and the Grenadier is its first foray into the automotive industry.
Priced from £48,000 and expected to go on sale next year, the Grenadier will come with a choice of powertrains – the hydrogen fuel cell, or two 3.0-litre internal combustion engines from BMW.
Both conventional engines are turbocharged six-cylinder units.