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Toyota reveals hydrogen-powered Hilux

Toyota has revealed the first prototype of an electric Hilux powered by a hydrogen fuel-cell.

The pre-production unit of the popular bakkie is part of Toyota’s wider European strategy to accelerate the development of hydrogen-based transport solutions and deliver carbon neutrality across the region.

The one-of-a-kind Hilux was produced in Derby, England in a joint venture between Toyota’s UK subsidiary and four other companies operating in the new-energy vehicle space, and was supported by funding from the UK government.

“Its debut is a further demonstration of the broad scope of Toyota’s multi-path strategy for achieving carbon-free mobility, applying different powertrain solutions – hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid electric, battery electric, and fuel-cell electric – to suit different user needs and operating environments worldwide,” said the world’s largest carmaker.

“Hilux is a global icon of the Toyota brand with a reputation for exceptional reliability and durability. The development project has explored how these qualities might be maintained while adopting a new fuel-cell electric zero-emission powertrain.”

Hydrogen Hilux highlights

The hydrogen-powered Hilux research project began early last year, with the companies first putting pen to paper on 1 July to design the bakkie’s new internals after securing funding from the UK Government’s Advanced Propulsion Centre – a non-profit organisation supporting the development of cleaner technologies and new mobility concepts.

Nearly a year later, on 5 June 2023, construction on the prototype began in a dedicated area within Toyota’s UK factory, with the first example taking around three weeks to build while another nine are still scheduled to be produced before the end of the year.

The new-energy powertrain incorporates core elements from the Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell electric sedan, which has been on the market for nearly a decade.

Toyota Mirai

With this system, hydrogen is stored in three high-pressure fuel tanks, which when filled completely gives the prototype Hilux an expected driving range of more than 600km – “significantly further than might be achieved with a battery-electric system,” said Toyota.

Another advantage is that tailpipe emissions in the fuel-cell-powered bakkie exclusively take the form of pure water.

The hybrid battery, which stores electricity produced on-board by the fuel-cell, is then positioned in the rear load deck to avoid a loss of cabin space.

Upon completion, the 10 hydrogen-powered Hilux bakkies will undergo rigorous testing to ensure safety, dynamic performance, functionality, and durability meet the high standards required of a production model to test the viability of the technology in the shift to a new-energy future.

Hydrogen fuel-cell Toyota Hilux prototype

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