Toyota has debuted a hydrogen-powered pickup truck prototype that it says has an expected driving range of more than 365 miles.
In announcing the development this week, the automaker said its Hilux fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) prototype contains three high-pressure fuel tanks that helped significantly expand driving range capacity when compared to its electric vehicle (EV) lineup.
The prototype was developed at Toyota’s United Kingdom (U.K.) manufacturing plant in Derby as part of a federally-funded, joint project with consortium partners, including:
- Ricardo, an engineering and environmental consulting firm, which supported the technical integration of the fuel cell components in the Hilux chassis;
- European Thermodynamics, which provides high-integrity thermal solutions;
- D2H Advanced Technologies, an engineering services company, which completed a computational fluid dynamics analysis to identify areas of improvement for the Hilux; and
- Thatcham Research, which will support the project by validating the Hilux’s repairability and creating a FCEV training package for the repair market.
The project was launched in early 2022 and prototype construction began this June. Just three weeks later, the first vehicle was created, Toyota said, adding that it plans to build nine more by the end of this year.
“These will undergo rigorous testing around the world to ensure safety, dynamic performance, functionality and durability meet the high standards required of a production model,” the automaker said.
Funding for the vehicle’s development was granted through the Advanced Propulsion Center (APC), which collaborates with the U.K. government to support the development of net-zero technologies.
“The Toyota Hilux project is a fantastic example of collaborative R&D which has designed, integrated, and delivered a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle,” said Ian Constance, APC’s chief executive. “U.K. government funding through the APC anchors capability in R&D, which helps safeguard and creates new jobs for the future. It embeds the next generation of net-zero vehicles and technologies in the UK.
“The project consortium has made significant progress to deliver several vehicle demonstrators developed and built in the UK. Seeing the prototype hydrogen fuel cell Toyota Hilux global launch within a year of the start of the project is a clear demonstration of the capabilities and strengths of the UK’s automotive supply chain.”
Toyota said the new powertrain uses core elements from its Mirai hydrogen fuel cell electric saloon. The Mirai has been on the market for nearly a decade and has a slightly longer range of up to 402 miles.
“The project team [has] accomplished an incredible job in a very short space of time, from creating the prototype build area to completion of the first vehicle,” said Richard Kenworthy, managing director of Toyota Manufacturing U.K. “The UK government funding has enabled us not only to develop a new vehicle in record time but also to upskill our teams to work on hydrogen-related technologies, something we hope to build on in the future.
“This is a great vote of confidence in UK manufacturing and its potential to deliver carbon-free vehicles to meet future targets.”
The automaker did not indicate when the pickup truck is expected to hit the market, and whether it will be available in the U.S.
This is the second announcement this week related to an automaker creating an emissions-free prototype.
On Sunday, Mercedes-Benz announced that it has created electric vehicles capable of driving up to 466 miles on a single charge.
All images courtesy of Toyota