While companies like Hyundai and Toyota push on with fuel-cell technology in their vehicles, Jaguar Land Rover’s technical design director Wolfgang Zeibart isn’t sold. In fact, he has some pretty strong feelings against the new energy source. In a recent interview at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Zeibart said that fuel-cell technology was “complete nonsense.”
Coming off the debut of the new I-Pace electric SUV concept, Zeibart spoke candidly to a group of journalists, not holding back his disdain for the hydrogen fuel cell. “The well-to-wheel relationship from the energy source to the vehicle is a disaster,” he said, citing just 30 percent well-to-wheel efficiency during distribution and deployment of hydrogen cells, whereas electric cars have an efficiency closer to 70 percent.
When asked where the company stood as a whole on hydrogen fuel-cell use in future products, Ziebart further drove home the point, saying, “Hydrogen doesn’t make sense. It is a complete nonsense. The well-to-wheel relationship is a disaster in hydrogen.”
Aside from energy loss, the infrastructure to support hydrogen remains an issue, especially in the U.K. where just three hydrogen fueling stations cover the entire region. That isn’t stopping Toyota, though, which hopes to have a range of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles in its lineup by 2020. As for JLR, it will continue to take the electric route for future products.
With an injection of more than £3B ($3.7B) into research and development of electric vehicles in the next few years, the company hopes to have more than half of its lineup electrified by 2020. An expanded workforce of more than 40,000 employees, and an investment of £301M ($374M) into electrical engineering alone will (hypothetically) help that goal come to fruition.