Toyota hydrogen hilux

Toyota’s project to develop a hydrogen fuel-cell Hilux pick-up has moved a step closer.

Since the unveiling of the first prototype vehicle in September 2023, Toyota and its consortium partners, supported by UK government funding, have successfully progressed their joint development project to the stage of intensive prototype evaluation and demonstration.

Ten fuel-cell Hilux prototypes have been built at TMUK’s Burnaston facility in Derbyshire. Five vehicles are undergoing rigorous field testing to assess safety, performance, functionality and durability, generating test drive data in real-world situations. A further five vehicles are engaged in customer and media demonstrations, including at the forthcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024. Through its engagement with customers, Toyota says it is laying the groundwork for a successful future hydrogen transport sector.

Know-how gained from the Hilux project will combine with Toyota’s 30 years of hydrogen fuel-cell research and development to contribute to the next generation of fuel-cell technology. This will offer longer lifecycles, increased vehicle driving ranges and significantly reduced costs.

Toyota expects Europe to be one of the world’s largest hydrogen fuel markets by 2030, with steady growth in mobility and power generation applications. As a result, in December 2023, Toyota Motor Europe (TME) announced the Hydrogen Factory Europe, reflecting the company’s co-ordinated approach to the commercialisation of the technology, from development and production to sales and after sales.

The car giant says the fuel -cell Hilux prototype project is an important stepping stone to the further development of hydrogen technology and to stimulate a wider roll-out of hydrogen eco-systems and infrastructure across Europe.

The power to the prototype is delivered using core elements from the fuel -cell system featured in the Toyota Mirai. The fuel-cell Hilux has an expected driving range of up to 373 miles/600km – further than might be achieved using a battery electric system. And thanks to hydrogen’s light weight, a higher payload and towing capability can be achieved, compared to other zero emission alternatives.

Hydrogen is stored in three high-pressure fuel tanks, each containing 2.6kg to give a total capacity of 7.8kg. The tanks are mounted within the vehicle’s ladder frame chassis. The polymer electrolyte fuel cell stack contains 330 cells and is mounted above the front axle.

The fuel cell Hilux is rear-wheel drive, via an e-motor on the rear axle delivering a maximum 134kW (180bhp, 182 DIN hp) and 300Nm of torque. When the vehicle is driven, the fuel cell produces no tailpipe emissions, only pure water.

A lithium-ion battery stores the electricity produced on board by the fuel cell. This is located in the rear load deck, above the hydrogen tanks. This avoids any loss of cabin space.