Toyota is developing a zero-emissions hydrogen fuel cell-powered Hilux, the automotive manufacturer has confirmed.
The move, it says, comes on the back of evolving customer demand, a fast-changing market, and efforts towards decarbonisation.
Toyota successfully secured APC funding in 2021 for a project to contribute to the development of new, cleaner technologies and mobility solutions.
The consortium – led by Toyota Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd. (TMUK) – will receive government funding to cover the development of a fuel cell-powered Hilux.
Toyota is partnering with Ricardo, ETL, D2H and Thatcham Research for the project.
The aim is to adopt second-generation Toyota fuel cell components – as used in the latest Toyota Mirai – for the transformation of a Hilux into a fuel cell electric vehicle.
While TMUK is spearheading the project, a team from Toyota Motor Europe (TME) R&D will provide expert technical support to enable the UK-based teams to build its own expertise and self-sufficiency to develop next-generation hydrogen drivetrain capabilities.
The partners will produce the initial prototype vehicles at the TMUK site in Burnaston next year.
Following successful performance results, the target, they say, is to prepare for small series production.
Richard Kenworthy, managing director at Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK, said:
“The auto industry in the UK is a vital part of the UK economy, but we cannot be left behind as the world is changing.”
“We have already introduced electrified vehicles, but we also need to maintain the skills base that we can also adopt all the zero-emission technologies, and one of the new technologies is hydrogen.”
“By this project, we are going to start developing skills throughout the supply chain, in terms of design, manufacture and our supply base and through that, contributing immediately to the UK economy,” he added.
Katherine Chamberlain, new product development at Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK, said: “So, this project is putting a Mirari drivetrain, a fuel cell, into the Hilux.”
“So, we are converting the vehicle into a hydrogen-powered vehicle, and it is really exciting. It is the first of its kind in this segment.”
“Customers in the market are telling us that they need a zero-emission solution, and this will deliver it.”
Timothy D’ Herde, head of Powertain 2 at Toyota Motor Europe, added:
“So actually, for this project, what we are going to do is, on the one hand, we have our Hilux, which is a very well-known vehicle.”
“On the other hand, we have the fuel cell powertrain generation two, and in this project, we will combine those two to generate a fuel cell electric Hilux.”
“This is a very exciting project, and myself personally, I cannot wait to drive the first prototype next year.”
“And also in this project, we will develop it in the UK with very skilled partners and through the project, not only will we create this very exciting vehicle, but as well will boost the capability of partners and colleagues moving forward.”
“So, hence this is really a win-win project, and together as a team, we really will make possible tomorrow, what seems impossible today,” he concluded.