Toyota Motor Corp. has shifted its focus from passenger cars to the development of fuel-cell (FC) commercial vehicles.
Toyota Executive Vice President Hiroki Nakajima expresses the company’s aspirations, stating, “We hope to work hard to realize a hydrogen society by having more of our (FC) vehicles operational under business-to-government arrangements.” This signals a deliberate effort to extend the application of fuel-cell technology beyond passenger cars.
Toyota has unveiled a range of FC commercial vehicles, including delivery trucks and garbage trucks, all powered by hydrogen. These vehicles utilize electric power generated through chemical reactions between fuel hydrogen and oxygen in the air, emitting only water during operation. The focus on commercial applications is seen as a strategic move to tap into opportunities that extend beyond the realm of passenger cars.
A notable example of Toyota’s foray into commercial FC vehicles is the FC garbage truck, jointly developed with ShinMaywa Industries Ltd. Unveiled at the Autopolis circuit racecourse in Hita, Oita Prefecture, this garbage truck is not only environmentally friendly but also exceptionally quiet, making it ideal for night-time garbage collection in places like Fukuoka. Plans for trial operations in Fukuoka and subsequent introductions in Tokyo indicate Toyota’s commitment to transforming waste management.
Toyota’s vision extends beyond garbage trucks to various commercial applications, including light-duty FC electric trucks developed in collaboration with Isuzu Motors Ltd. and Hino Motors Ltd. Plans involve deploying around 250 of these trucks for deliveries in Fukushima Prefecture and Tokyo. Additionally, heavy-duty FC electric trucks are undergoing trial use, marking Toyota’s commitment to the entire spectrum of commercial vehicles.