Rolls-Royce may consider hydrogen FCEVs in future

Rolls-Royce may consider hydrogen FCEVs in future

Rolls-Royce is considering a different approach to electrification, which may see it turn from battery power to hydrogen fuel cells when the technology is mature enough to be commercialised at scale, Autocar has reported.

Speaking to the magazine at the public debut of the Spectre, Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös said that the luxury brand’s unique positioning, and the typical use case for the average Rolls-Royce owner makes it possible for the brand to consider hydrogen as an alternative fuel in the future. At this point, the fuel-cell direction, rather than hydrogen combustion, is what’s being considered by the brand.

“I think a hydrogen combustion engine is nothing I would look into, because that was already tested years ago,” referring to the E65/E66-generation BMW 7 Series-based BMW Hydrogen 7. “This is not the most efficient way to use hydrogen. If hydrogen will be used in the future, then it’s fuel cells. And fuel cells are nothing different from a battery; it’s just how you get the energy,” he said.

The latest model from Rolls-Royce is the all-electric Spectre, a two-door coupé featuring a dual-motor powertrain that outputs 585 PS and 900 Nm of torque, enabling the 2,975 kg EV to do the 0-100 km/h run in 4.5 seconds. Its battery offers a range of up to 520 km on the WLTP cycle.

Rolls-Royce may consider hydrogen FCEVs in future

BMW iX5 Hydrogen

Hydrogen fuel cell technology is “definitely something” that Rolls-Royce would pursue when the time is right and when the technology has advanced further, Müller-Ötvös said. In the wider BMW Group, the iX5 Hydrogen prototype was unveiled in February this year, employing hydrogen fuel cells from fellow hydrogen proponent, Toyota.

A production version of the iX5 Hydrogen will be sold in small numbers, though the model’s launch demonstrates “the technical maturity of this type of drive system and underscoring its potential for the future,” the magazine quoted Zipse as saying.

Rolls-Royce CEO Müller-Ötvös agreed that the technology has a place in the future, especially in the case of the typical Rolls-Royce car which is not used frequently for long-distance travel. That said, Müller-Ötvös acknowledges that hydrogen refuelling is an obstacle and can’t be done at home, however Rolls-Royce clientele have large garage spaces, which offer plenty of room both in their homes and in office buildings for chargers to be installed.

Additionally, many Rolls-Royce clients already have EV charging installed in their homes as the Spectre would not be their first electric car, the luxury marque told Autocar. Rolls-Royce is closely watching developements in hydrogen refuelling infrastructure to further study the feasibility of hydrogen use in its vehicles.

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Mick Chan

Open roads and closed circuits hold great allure for Mick Chan. Driving heaven to him is exercising a playful chassis on twisty paths; prizes ergonomics and involvement over gadgetry. Spent three years at a motoring newspaper and short stint with a magazine prior to joining this website.

 

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