Latest News | 12 June 2024

Toyota’s ground-breaking pick-up moves into final testing phase

Toyota Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd
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A prototype hydrogen fuel cell-powered pick-up created by Toyota Manufacturing UK at its Derbyshire factory has moved into its final phase of testing.

Since the unveiling of the first prototype vehicle in September last year, the Burnaston plant has produced 10 prototype vehicles powered by Toyota’s fuel cell electric technology with zero tailpipe emissions.

Working with its consortium partners, supported by UK Government funding, it has now successfully progressed the joint development project to the stage of intensive prototype evaluation and demonstration.

Out of the 10 vehicles produced, five are undergoing rigorous field testing to assess safety, performance, functionality and durability, generating test drive data in real-world situations.

The other five are engaged in customer and media demonstrations, including at the forthcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024.

In a statement, Toyota said: “This latest project landmark further demonstrates the broad scope of Toyota’s multi-path strategy towards carbon neutrality, applying different powertrain technologies – hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid electric, battery electric, fuel cell electric and e-fuels – to suit different user needs and local infrastructure.

“Know-how gained from the Hilux project will combine with Toyota’s 30 years of hydrogen fuel cell research and development to contribute the next generation of fuel cell technology.

“This will offer longer lifecycles, increased vehicle driving ranges and significantly reduced costs.”

Toyota expects Europe to be one of the world’s largest hydrogen fuel markets by 2030, with steady growth in mobility and power generation applications.

The hydrogen fuel cell Toyota Hilux prototype project began with a feasibility study in early 2022 and has moved at pace towards its concluding phase.

The initial study, undertaken by Toyota Manufacturing and Toyota Motor Europe, enabled subsequent funding from the UK Government through the Advanced Propulsion Centre, a non-profit organisation which supports the development of cleaner technologies and new mobility concepts.

An intense design and development programme ran from July 2022 to January 2023, also involving consortium partners Ricardo, ETL, D2H, Advanced Technologies and Thatcham Research, with additional support from Toyota Motor Corporation.

Parts manufacturing, including chassis frame welding, took place between February and May 2023, prior to prototype construction in a dedicated area within Toyota’s Burnaston plant.

Construction took place in June and July 2023 and the first vehicle was completed in just three weeks.

A further nine were assembled between July and December, ahead of an evaluation phase that included test rig and track testing.

Toyota said: “The fuel cell Hilux prototype project is an important stepping stone to the further development of hydrogen technology and stimulate a wider roll-out of hydrogen eco-systems and infrastructure across Europe.”

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