Toyota Motor Europe is launching the Hydrogen Factory Europe, to help ensure a co-ordinated approach to the commercialisation of hydrogen technology and systems in the region – spanning everything from development and production, through to sales and aftersales.
The Hydrogen Factory will be responsible for producing an increasing number of fuel cell systems and supporting a widening group of commercial partnerships, in line with the company’s strategy to achieve carbon neutrality in Europe by 2040, 10 years ahead of Toyota’s global target.
Toyota expects Europe to be one of the world’s largest hydrogen fuel cell markets by 2030, with steady acceleration of different mobility and power generation applications. It says growing investment and regulatory measures are encouraging development and market growth. These include €45bn investment from the European Commission’s Green Deal by 2027 and an award of €284m from the EU’s transport infrastructure fund – approximately one third of its budget – for the installation of hydrogen refuelling stations.
The recent confirmation of the Renewable Energy Directive (REDIII) requires 42% of hydrogen used by industry in Europe to be derived from sustainable sources by 2030. Along with the plans to build hydrogen filling stations at minimum 200km intervals along the region’s TEN-T (trans-European Transport Network) corridors, Europe is positioning itself at the centre of hydrogen technology.
Thiebault Paquet, TME vice president and head of fuel cell business, said: “Europe is showing long-term confidence in hydrogen and so are we. We will continue to develop fuel cell passenger cars and other light duty vehicles while we have broadened our focus towards heavy-duty transport to support the expansion of viable hydrogen infrastructure. We aim to further develop and learn through testing in our own network and with partners who share our approach.”
Toyota introduced the world’s first mass-produced hydrogen fuel cell saloon, Mirai, in 2015. Second generation fuel cell technology debuted in a new Mirai model launched in 2020 and was also featured in the all-new Toyota Crown in Japan earlier this year, reaffirming the company’s commitment to hydrogen-fuelled passenger vehicles.
Toyota is further broadening its exploration towards light duty FCEVs. Earlier this year, the first hydrogen-fuelled Hilux FCEV Prototype pick-up was unveiled. Produced by a Toyota-led consortium in the UK, the prototype demonstrates how a fuel cell might be incorporated in a pick-up. Thanks to hydrogen being light in weight, light duty FCEVs can offer higher payload and towing capabilities compared to other zero emission alternatives.
Toyota has also been integrating its fuel cell technology into heavy-duty transport applications for some years now and has recently entered the strategic truck market in Europe with hydrogen-fuelled trucks from the French manufacturer Hyliko and the Netherlands-based VDL Groep. Toyota will be using the hydrogen-fuelled VDL trucks to decarbonise its own logistics operations. The company is also expanding its partnership with Corvus in Norway for future marine applications. Furthermore, French clean mobility company GCK will use Toyota’s fuel cell modules to convert diesel coaches to zero-emission hydrogen vehicles.
Toyota is now developing next-generation hydrogen fuel cell technology that is expected to deliver industry-leading performance through longer lifecycles and reduced costs. The new fuel cell technology, scheduled for sales in 2026, will deliver a higher power density. The new fuel cell system is expected to enable a 20% increase in driving range, whereas technical advances and increased production volumes are expected to help reduce costs by more than a third. Further research is also looking at the potential of scalable fuel cell stacks with different power outputs and design of fuel tanks with complex shapes, compatible with different size vehicles.
In addition, up to 10 hydrogen applications will be in operation at the Paris 2024 Olympics. Toyota, as the worldwide mobility partner of the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee, will provide a passenger vehicle fleet of more than 2,650 electrified vehicles and 700 electric last-mile mobility solutions.