How do you make hydrogen more appealing to petrolheads? Perhaps outfitting a 1976 Jeep Cherokee Chief with a 6.2-liter V8 hydrogen combustion engine and some tasty modifications will allow you to have all the fun without any pollution. This is the French energy technology group GCK’s approach, together with motor oil specialist Motul.
Consolidated in 2020, the GCK group (Green Corp Konnection) encompasses eight companies in three divisions: technology & industry, mobility, and energy. In practice, the group develops battery and hydrogen tech for all types of vehicles, including retrofit options. Last September, the French lubricant company Motul acquired a stake in further developing joint motorsport, battery, and hydrogen combustion technology.
V8 power, zero CO2 emissions
And that last project will be put under the spotlight at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, held from January 9 through 12. There, both companies will showcase a 1976 Jeep Cherokee Chief, which has been retrofitted with a hydrogen combustion engine.
Not much is yet known about this engine, however. GCK only tells us that it has been developed by its subsidiary Soluton F and is a 6.2-liter V8. It does look exciting, though, with a lifted suspension and big off-road tires to stand out even more. The Jeep will be used as a demo vehicle to explore the viability of retrofitting hydrogen combustion engines in the US.
Is hydrogen combustion more viable for retrofitting?
Of course, this is not the first time we’ve seen a hydrogen combustion engine. Toyota, in particular, has shown several prototypes and even race cars with this type of propulsion.
However, GCK is one of the first to apply it as a retrofit solution instead of fitting batteries to classic cars, where sound is a big part of the sensation. Retrofitting has only become legal in Belgium, although only electric motors (powered by batteries or a hydrogen fuel cell) are permitted.