The zero-emission experiment – which is part of a wider government-funded undertaking known as Project Zeus – will reportedly lead to the introduction of a mass-produced hydrogen Land Rover SUV “within the next few years.”
However, it is unclear if the production version will similarly be based on the Defender platform, or instead take the shape of an all-new vehicle from the ground-up.
A spokesperson for the manufacturer in Australia told CarAdvice: “At the moment this is just a prototype, and the Defender was simply picked as a test-bed for research … when the time comes to go to market, we’ll have more to say.”
The Hyundai Nexo and Toyota Mirai are currently the only hydrogen fuel cell vehicles on offer in Australia, and local infrastructure in sparse. Just three sites offer hydrogen vehicle refuelling, spread across NSW, the ACT, and Victoria.
The introduction of a hydrogen Defender prototype is the latest step in the brand's plan to achieve zero tailpipe emissions across its vehicle fleet by 2036, with both battery-electric and hydrogen vehicles set to form part of that plan.
The Land Rover Defender off-roader is currently offered with a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine in entry-level cars, 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines in mid-tier models, and a 5.0-litre supercharged petrol V8 in the flagship P525.