The mass production of the Ineos Grenadier, the Defender-like body-on-frame SUV from Britain’s Ineos Automotive, has been delayed from late 2021 to July 2022, said a report in May on Autocar UK. Potential Ineos Grenadier variants, including the hydrogen FCEV with the Hyundai Nexo’s powertrain, may arrive after 2023 now.
“Unavoidable delays” have resulted in Ineos Automotive postponing the production of the Grenadier, as per the report. Supply chain issues automakers are facing due to semiconductor chips could be the reason, or one of the reasons, behind the delay.
Earlier in 2021, the Ineos Grenadier reached a new stage of production. Engineering journalist Mark Evans presented a walkthrough of the new updates in reaching from prototype to production in a short video:
Video Source: youtube.com/Ineos Automotive
Magna Steyr, the engineering partner of Ineos Automotive, tested early development prototypes of the Ineos Grenadier, called ‘2A,’ for over a year. It was building a fleet of the next prototype generation, and the more advanced cars were going to be called 2B. Hans-Peter, Project Leader for Ineos Automotive, Magna Steyr, said that the company has about 250 engineers working on this project. More than 80 Ineos Grenadier 2B prototypes were going to be made for testing.
Ineos Automotive has purchased Mercedes-Benz’s Hambach plant in France and plans to start manufacturing the Ineos Grenadier from the end of the year. Erik Torseke, Industrialisation Director, Ineos Automotive, explained why the company chose Hambach for production. Mercedes-Benz’s Hambach facility is purpose-built for manufacturing large SUVs. Moreover, the cost, quality, and production capacity suited the company’s needs.
Torseke said that the 2B prototypes are not intended for production and that Ineos will use them only to ensure that the vehicle parts fit together properly. The next phase will involve making prototypes according to the actual manufacturing process. Eventually, we may see the French plant rolling out an Ineos Grenadier hydrogen (FCEV) variant.
Ineos Grenadier to get Hyundai Nexo’s hydrogen powertrain
The Ineos Grenadier may get the Hyundai Nexo’s hydrogen fuel cell powertrain as the second step in its journey. Hyundai Motor Company and Ineos partnered for the production and supply of hydrogen and the sharing of the former’s fuel cell system in November last year. The Ineos Grenadier 4×4 will be tested with Hyundai’s hydrogen fuel cell powertrain. Ineos said this move shows its efforts to diversify the off-roading SUV’s powertrain options at an early stage, though exact production plans are yet to be announced.
Ineos Grenadier’s arch-rival Land Rover Defender is also likely to come in a hydrogen fuel cell variant in the future. Development of a Land Rover Defender FCEV prototype is underway, Jaguar Land Rover announced on 15 June 2021. Unlike BEVs, hydrogen FCEVs promise minimal loss of range in low temperatures and are more suitable for travelling to cold places. JLR plans to begin testing the Land Rover Defender FCEV prototype towards the end of 2021.
Ineos’ cooperation with Hyundai Motor Company to scale up the global hydrogen economy aligns with its recently launched business of developing and building clean hydrogen capacity across Europe. It already produces 300,000 tons of hydrogen annually as a by-product from its chemical production processes. Inovyn, an Ineos Group subsidiary in the petrochemical industry, is currently the largest electrolysis operator in Europe. Thanks to its experience in the storage and handling of hydrogen and deep know-how in the critical technology that uses renewable energy to produce hydrogen, it is in a unique position in the hydrogen economy.
As part of its FCEV Vision 2030 long-term roadmap, Hyundai Motor Group, the parent company of Hyundai Motor Company, plans to increase annual hydrogen fuel cell system production to 700,000 units by the end of this decade. HMG sees its fuel-cell systems going into automobiles and vessels, drones, rolling stocks, and forklifts. It expects demand from sectors other than transportation, such as power generation and storage systems.
Ineos Grenadier interior
The Ineos Grenadier has a simple and retro interior with a few contemporary touches. Ineos Automotive is emphasizing function over form, and classic off-road SUV lovers will find themselves right at home in this model. Some may even say this is how Land Rover’s all-new Defender should’ve looked on the inside.
A plain dashboard, heaps of analogue controls, inspired by aircrafts, boats, and even tractors, a large storage area between the front seats, and a compass give a very purposeful, industrial, and rugged appeal to the cabin. Two large glass roof panels let in plenty of natural light, and they look removable. A sleek 12.3-inch touchscreen with split-screen functionality nicely sits atop the centre console, and it features crisp graphics.
Ineos Grenadier undergoes winter-testing in the Alps
The Grenadier reached Austria for winter-testing in March and was spotted proving its off-road capability on the mountains of Obertauern. Dirk Heilmann, CEO, Ineos Automotive, had then shared some pictures of the new extreme SUV from the tests on his Instagram page (@dirkheilmanngrenadier).
The Grenadier prototype features FC Lausanne livery, roof light bar, snorkel, and side steps. The 4×4 SUV is built on a ladder-frame chassis for extreme off-roading capability. It will be equipped with features like solid axles, lockable differentials, and knobby Bridgestone all-terrain tires, or optionally, even better, BF Goodrich all-terrain tires.
Ineos Automotive, a subsidiary of Ineos Group, plans to launch the Ineos Grenadier with a BMW Group-made 3.0-liter six-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines and a ZF-made 8-speed automatic transmission. Prices are estimated at £40,000-£50,000 (EUR 46,000 – 58,000) in the European region. Customer deliveries may begin in Q3 2022 now.
Featured Image Source: instagram.com/dirkheilmanngrenadier