Toyota reveals hydrogen fuel cell electric Hilux prototype
- Development project delivers the first prototype of a hydrogen fuel cell electric Hilux
- Project reflects Toyota’s wider European strategy to accelerate development of hydrogen fuel cell solutions to deliver carbon neutrality across the region
Burnaston, 05 Sep 2023 - Toyota has reached another milestone in its progress towards a zero carbon future with the unveiling of a prototype hydrogen fuel cell electric Hilux. 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.
The ground-breaking pick-up was revealed at Toyota Manufacturing UK’s vehicle plant in Derby, England, where it has been developed in a joint project with consortium partners, supported by UK Government funding. 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.
The new powertrain uses core elements from the Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell electric sedan – technology that has proved its quality in almost 10 years of commercial production. When driven, the fuel cell produces no tailpipe emissions other than pure water.
Hydrogen is stored in three high-pressure fuel tanks, giving the prototype Hilux an expected driving range of more than 600 km – significantly further than might be achieved with a battery electric system. The hybrid battery, which stores electricity produced on-board by the fuel cell, is positioned in the rear load deck, avoiding loss of cabin space.
The project began in early 2022 with a feasibility study undertaken by TMUK and Toyota Motor Europe. Funding was subsequently gained from the UK Government through the Advanced Propulsion Centre, a non-profit organisation supporting the development of cleaner technologies and new mobility concepts. This enabled the start of an intense design and development programme from 1 July 2022, with consortium partners Ricardo, ETL, D2H Advanced Technologies, Thatcham Research and additional support from Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC).
Prototype construction began on June 5 this year, working to Toyota Production System principles in a dedicated area within the TMUK facility. The first vehicle was completed just three weeks later, the first of 10 that will be built by the end of this year. These will undergo rigorous testing to ensure safety, dynamic performance, functionality and durability meet the high standards required of a production model.
The project has enabled TMUK members to develop and apply new skills relating to fuel cell electrified vehicles and hydrogen system components. The consortium members have also all played key roles in the initial phase of the programme. Ricardo has supported preparations for the prototype build, carrying out design and development tasks and confirming the complete manufacturing process in parallel with teams at TMUK. Ricardo will undertake complete evaluation of the vehicle over the coming months, prior to a decision on a potential production model being introduced in the second half of this decade.
About the consortium members
Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK (TMUK) produces Corolla Hatchback, Touring Sports and Commercial models at its production centre in Burnaston, Derbyshire, and hybrid engines at its facility in Deeside North Wales. TMUK began production in 1992 as Toyota’s first fully owned manufacturing business in Europe and went on to become the company’s first location for hybrid electric vehicle manufacturing outside Japan. To date, Toyota has invested more than £2.75 billion in its UK manufacturing operations; TMUK currently employs more than 3,000 people and supports many further jobs in its extensive UK supplier network.
Ricardo is a global strategic engineering and environmental consultancy specialising in the transport, energy and scarce resources sectors. Ricardo has supported the technical integration of the fuel cell components into the Hilux chassis.
ETL (European Thermodynamics) is committed to delivering high-integrity thermal solutions through excellence in design and innovation. ETL has studied reversible and multi fan arrangements.
D2H Advanced Technologies provides high-technology engineering services in simulation, modelling, aerodynamics, thermodynamics and design for motorsport and other high-performance industries. D2H has completed CFD analysis to highlight where improvements could be made.
Thatcham Research, the automotive risk intelligence company dedicated to understanding the opportunities and risks of new vehicle technology, supported the project through the provision of sustainable repair consultancy and the preparation of hydrogen training for the repair market.
Toyota Motor Europe NV/SA (TME) oversees the wholesale sales and marketing of Toyota, GR (Gazoo Racing) and Lexus vehicles and parts and accessories, as well as Toyota’s European manufacturing and engineering operations. Toyota directly employs over 25,000 people and has invested over EUR 11 billion in Europe since 1990. Its eight European manufacturing plants are located in Portugal, the UK, France, Poland, Czech Republic and Turkey. Today, there are approximately 16.5 million Toyota, GR and Lexus vehicles on European roads, whose drivers are supported by a network of 28 National Marketing and Sales Companies and around 2,800 retail sales outlets in 53 countries (EU, UK, EFTA countries + Russia, Israel, Turkey and other Eastern European countries). In 2022, TME sold 1,080,975 vehicles in Europe for a 6.4% market share. For more information, visit Facts & Figures (toyota.eu) and www.toyota-europe.com.
Toyota believes that when people are free to move, anything is possible. In the pursuit of "Mobility for All", Toyota aims to create safer, more connected, inclusive and sustainable mobility to achieve its mission of producing “Happiness for All”. In Europe, TME launched the KINTO mobility brand which offers a range of mobility services in 14 countries, and is growing its business-to-business sales of zero-emission fuel cell products and engineering support. Contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Toyota is working to achieve carbon neutrality in its entire business across Europe. A historic leader in CO2 reduction in Europe, TME aims to achieve 100% CO2 reduction in all new vehicles in Western Europe by 2035 and will continue to offer a full range of electrified powertrains to customers across the region with its hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery and fuel cell electric vehicles.
Toyota views hydrogen as one of the key building blocks towards carbon neutrality, using fuel cell technology for mobility and in the wider economy beyond transport. As a hydrogen frontrunner, Toyota’s advanced fuel cell technology is already integrated into passenger cars, buses, trucks, trains, marine and stationary applications for a range of business customers and other OEMs. To meet growing demand in the region, TME started producing its 2nd generation compact fuel cell modules in Europe in January 2022. In terms of infrastructure, Toyota's long-term vision is to establish 700bar as a standard for fuel cell electric vehicles and products.