Billionaire tycoon Sir Jim Ratcliffe has signed a major contract with Korean auto giant Hyundai to produce environmentally friendly, zero-emission versions of its new Ineos Grenadier 4X4 that runs on hydrogen-powered electricity.
However, the plan for a hydrogen fuel cell powered electric off-roader – a rival that competes with Land Rover’s new Defender and Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon – goes much further, and includes measures for its refineries to make the lighter than too produce and deliver air (although highly flammable) gas fuel to a network of hydrogen refueling stations.
Its step-on-the-gas strategy – using hydrogen in a chemical reaction to generate electricity and only emissions of pure water – aims to improve current battery technology at the heart of most new electric cars on the market .
It would also be a particularly smart move by Sir Jim – Britain’s fifth richest man with an estimated personal fortune of £ 12.2 billion – whose refinery network already produces 300,000 tons of hydrogen a year, mainly as a by-product of its chemical manufacture.
Green machine: From the start, the Grenadier is powered by 3.0-liter BMW petrol and diesel engines. However, an electric hydrogen-powered version could follow after Ineos signed a new agreement with Hyundai to develop vehicle technology
In the future, this hydrogen and more could power the fuel cell vehicles of his and other companies, including those of the new partner Hyundai.
The news of the new alliance was announced on Monday when Ineos Automotive and Hyundai signed a Memorandum of Understanding – an initial business agreement – to “explore new opportunities in the hydrogen economy together”.
These “opportunities” include the production and delivery of hydrogen to filling stations as well as new hydrogen applications, technologies and business models.
Significantly, it says: “The two companies will also work together to investigate the use of the Hyundai fuel cell system in the Ineos Grenadier vehicle.”
The announcement comes just days after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a ban on new all-gasoline and diesel cars by 2030 – a little over nine years away.
Some hybrids with a “significant” – if not yet specified – range for electricity only will be executed by 2035.
While most car companies have set their hopes on using rechargeable batteries to fill the void created by the internal combustion engine ban, Inoes and Hyundai are using this technology to turn to hydrogen-powered fuel cells to generate electricity.
Using hydrogen to power his grenadier would be a particularly smart move by Sir Jim, whose refinery network already produces 300,000 tons of hydrogen a year, mostly as a by-product of chemical manufacturing
Hyundai is already a big proponent of hydrogen cars and their new Nexo fuel cell car for £ 65,995 has a range of 414 miles – far more than most electric cars
In 2018, Hyundai announced its medium to long-term roadmap to increase annual production of hydrogen fuel cell systems to 700,000 units by 2030
That is money revealed the potential for a fuel cell version of the Grenadier in September 2019 – and that is confirmed today.
Mark Tennant, Commercial Director of Ineos Automotive, told us in an exclusive interview over a year ago: “We believe that the automotive business will simply consist of battery-electric vehicles in the longer term. This may be true for smaller, lighter cars, but it is not suitable for this class of vehicle. ‘
‘We see hydrogen as a really viable technology, especially for large SUVs.
“We already deliver many commercial fleets such as buses today. To us, this looks like a much better technology option than purely electric. ‘
The Grenadier is to be built in a revised Mercedes-Benz Smart plant in France and not in Wales as originally hoped.
With the ban on the gasoline and diesel market in 2030, Sir Jim Ratcliffe is likely to be keeping an eye on the market for its refineries to move increasingly to hydrogen production, which Hyundai has already developed a great deal of expertise in
The Hyundai Nexo (picture) is one of the few hydrogen fuel cell cars currently on the market. This also includes the Honda Clarity and the Mirai from Toyota
The Grenadier 4X4, believed to be a replacement for the historic Land Rover Defender of the old days, is slated to go into production at a plant in France late next year – but this remains unconfirmed
The Grenadier was conceived by Ratcliffe in a pub of the same name in the London borough of Belgravia to fill a perceived niche in the market that Land Rover and its new Defender SUV have abandoned.
How a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle works
Many experts believe that hydrogen-powered electric cars could be the real “green” environmentally friendly cars of the future in the long term.
These do not burn the highly explosive hydrogen.
Instead, the lighter than air gas – the most abundant element on our planet – is used in a chemical reaction that takes place in a specially designed fuel cell with a micro-thin membrane in the heart.
In a process known as reverse electrolysis, the fuel cell acts as a catalyst for the chemical reaction between the hydrogen (H) fuel and oxygen (O).
This creates electricity that powers the engines with pure water – H2O – the only thing that comes out of the exhaust pipe as a result of the hydrogen and oxygen reaction. You can even drink it.
A growing number of hydrogen refueling stations are being built across the country, including in Teddington in south-west London.
Hyundai is already a big proponent of hydrogen cars and their new Nexo fuel cell car for £ 65,995 has a range of 414 miles – far more than most electric cars.
Honda with its Clarity, Toyota’s Mirai and the British start-up Riversimple use hydrogen, which is also being investigated by BMW and Daimler. UK company ITM Power is building a national network of hydrogen refueling stations, including its first at the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington.
With the ban on the gasoline and diesel market in 2030, it is likely that Sir Jim Ratcliffe will be keeping an eye on the market for his refineries to increasingly switch to hydrogen production.
Despite fears of being lighter than air, but highly explosive hydrogen that gave buoyancy to the ill-fated airship Hindenburg that exploded in flames, supporters insist that it is perfectly safe and in some ways safer than gasoline as it does not ” collects “.
Hydrogen can also be produced by separating water into hydrogen and oxygen through electrolysis using solar energy.
The billionaire says there is a free run in the market for a traditional, rugged, low-key, useful, and hard-working 4X4 that can go anywhere.
Inoes is expected to cost between £ 30,000 and £ 45,000 and plans to start production in late 2021 and put the Grenadier on sale in early 2022, which translates into annual sales of around £ 25,000.
At the start, the new Grenadier will be powered by conventional turbo-charged BMW 3.0-liter six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines.
The two automakers said in a joint statement, “Hyundai and Ineos will jointly explore ways to produce and supply hydrogen, and deploy hydrogen applications and technologies around the world.
“Both companies will initially seek to fund public and private sector projects that focus on developing a hydrogen value chain in Europe.”
Significantly, they emphasized: “The agreement also includes the evaluation of Hyundai’s own fuel cell system for the recently announced Ineos Grenadier 4×4 vehicle.
This collaboration is an important step in Ineos’ efforts to diversify its powertrain options early on. “
Hyundai is a leader in hydrogen fuel cell technology, most recently with its Nexo sports utility vehicle, and launched the world’s first mass production of fuel cell electric vehicles in 2013.
In 2018, it announced its medium to long-term roadmap to increase the annual production of hydrogen fuel cell systems to 700,000 units by 2030.
The company said, “The world’s first dedicated hydrogen-powered SUV has the longest range among hydrogen-powered vehicles on the market.”
Saehoon Kim, Senior Vice President and Head of Fuel Cell Center at Hyundai Motor Company, said his expertise in hydrogen fuel cells combined with Ineos’ expertise in chemistry will help mass-produce green hydrogen and fuel cells for the Grenadier as well.
“Ineos” in the development of a fuel cell electric vehicle and a hydrogen ecosystem marks another milestone for sustainable and clean transport, “added the manufacturer.
Peter Williams. The Ineos Technology Director said, “This agreement puts us in a unique position to meet the emerging demand for affordable, low-carbon energy sources and the needs of discerning 4×4 owners in the future.”
Ineos recently founded a new subsidiary called Inovyn to develop and build capacities for clean hydrogen across Europe. This makes Ineos the largest existing operator of electrolysis in Europe, the critical technology for generating hydrogen for power generation, transport and industrial use.
The company said, “Our experience in hydrogen storage and handling combined with its established expertise in electrolysis technology places Ineos in a unique position to drive progress towards a carbon-free future based on hydrogen.”
The name Grenadier comes from one of Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s most popular pubs in trendy London, where he came up with the original idea of bringing a new vehicle onto the market
Grenadier will have a ground safety system of 21st century equipment and will be available as a conventional SUV and a truck with a drop-bed
Inoes is expected to cost between £ 30,000 and £ 45,000 and plans to start production in late 2021 and put the Grenadier on sale in early 2022, which translates into annual sales of around £ 25,000
How new Ineos Grenadier tries to steal a march from his rival
The new grenadier had his first outing in the UK in early September when Ineos boss Sir Jim surprised him at the exclusive Concourse of Elegance automobile event at Hampton Court Palace near London.
There he announced that the chunky 4X4 will “almost certainly” be built in France – at a Mercedes-Benz Smart plant in Hambach on the German-French border. It is a blow to the hopes of Bridgend in Wales originally envisaged.
Sir Jim said of the Grenadier, “It’s brilliant. It’ll end up 80 percent Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon but at half the price.
“We have 200 German engineers working on it near Stuttgart.”
Rather than visiting showrooms, Grenadier customers will shop online and through a network of agricultural and tractor dealerships, pop-up sites at county shows and equestrian events, and off-road adventure centers. For repairs and services, the company is planning a “Flying Spanner” service and a partnership with a large chain of repair centers.
According to Sir Jim, Land Rover left a “void” in the mud plug market, ending January 29, 2016, the $ 2 million production of its original Defender about 67 years after launch. It has been replaced by the modern, high-tech Defender of the 21st century, available now for around £ 38,000. Land Rover lawyers failed in a legal attempt to stop new rival Grenadier on his muddy tracks.
Meanwhile, Land Rover’s original classic Defender shape from 1948 has been reborn as a rally-derived performance from subsidiary Bowler Motors (part of Special Vehicle Operations division) for £ 200,000 and powered by a 5.0 liter engine 575 hp powered V8 engine.
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