Toyota has revealed a prototype hydrogen fuel cell-powered Hilux. This groundbreaking pickup truck, a global icon of the Toyota brand known for its reliability and durability, showcases the automaker’s commitment to diverse powertrain solutions for a sustainable future.
Toyota’s multi-technology approach to achieving carbon-free mobility encompasses hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid electric, battery electric, and fuel cell electric vehicles. This strategy allows Toyota to tailor its offerings to meet the diverse needs and operating conditions of users worldwide.
The hydrogen-powered Hilux prototype, unveiled at Toyota Manufacturing UK’s Burnaston car plant in Derby, has been developed through a collaborative effort with consortium partners and support from the UK Government.
Maintaining the exceptional reliability and durability associated with the Hilux brand while transitioning to an electrified powertrain was a key challenge for the development team. The goal was to ensure that the new electrified powertrain would live up to the Hilux’s reputation.
The UK Government’s funding support for this project is significant. Minister for Industry and Economic Security Nusrat Ghani commended Toyota for reaching this milestone, emphasizing the project’s importance in advancing carbon-free vehicles in the UK.
The prototype’s powertrain is based on elements from Toyota’s Mirai hydrogen fuel cell electric saloon, which has a decade of commercial production experience. When in operation, the fuel cell emits only pure water, making it a zero-emission vehicle.
Impressive Driving Range
The hydrogen fuel cell system in the Hilux utilizes three high-pressure fuel tanks, providing an expected driving range of over 365 miles. This range surpasses what is typically achieved by battery electric vehicles and addresses one of the key challenges of electric mobility – range anxiety. The hydrogen storage system is positioned in the rear load deck, ensuring that cabin space remains unaffected.
The project commenced in early 2022 with a feasibility study, followed by funding from the UK Government through the Advanced Propulsion Centre. Consortium partners, including Ricardo, ETL, D2H Advanced Technologies, and Thatcham Research, played pivotal roles in bringing this project to life.
The project not only resulted in a groundbreaking prototype but also allowed Toyota Manufacturing UK members to develop and apply new skills related to fuel cell electrified vehicles and hydrogen system components. This development has the potential to create new job opportunities and skillsets in the emerging hydrogen economy.
Thatcham Research, an automotive risk intelligence company, contributed by providing sustainable repair consultancy and hydrogen training for the repair market, emphasizing the importance of sustainability and safety in the hydrogen-powered vehicle ecosystem.