Toyota's hydrogen Hilux is a brilliant breakthrough for Burnaston - Select Car Leasing
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Toyota's hydrogen Hilux is a brilliant breakthrough for Burnaston

A ground-breaking hydrogen-fuelled Hilux pickup has been revealed by Toyota, built at the manufacturer’s car plant in Burnaston, Derby.

The prototype of the zero-emissions hydrogen Hilux draws its power from a fuel cell developed from the drivetrain found in the Toyota Mirai saloon. Hydrogen is stored in three high-pressure tanks, which is then delivered to the fuel cell, where chemical reactions convert the hydrogen into electricity. The resulting power is stored in a small battery pack and supplied to an electric motor that drives the pickup.

No emissions are produced by the technology during this process, other than water — which is clean enough to drink!

The ladder frame chassis that underpins the Hilux provides space between the chassis rails at the centre of the vehicle to slot the three hydrogen tanks into. To avoid any loss of space in the cabin, the battery pack is placed in the rear load deck. 

The hydrogen tanks hold enough fuel for the Hilux to cover up to 365 miles, with refuelling taking less than 10 minutes, something no electric model can rival. The drawback is that the UK’s hydrogen infrastructure is seriously lacking, with just three publicly available hydrogen filling stations in the country.

The hydrogen Hilux might be just a prototype at this stage, but it demonstrates Toyota’s adaptability and multi-technology strategy for achieving carbon-free mobility. By applying different powertrain solutions, whether hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid electric, battery electric or fuel cell electric, Toyota has options that will suit users' differing needs in various operating environments globally.

Toyota Manufacturing UK (TMUK) managing director Richard Kenworthy commented: "The project team have accomplished an incredible job in a very short space of time, from creating the prototype build area to completion of the first vehicle. 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.”

Nusrat Ghani, Minister for Industry and Economic Security, added: “We have an amazing manufacturing sector here in the UK, and this is a great example. It’s fantastic to see Toyota reach another milestone on their journey to zero emissions here in Britain, and I congratulate the project team for their success on this cutting-edge development. This is a great vote of confidence in UK manufacturing and its potential to deliver carbon-free vehicles to meet future targets.”

The project began in early 2022, with TMUK and Toyota Motor Europe, alongside consortium partners Ricardo, ETL, D2H Advanced Technologies and Thatcham Research, undertaking a feasibility study. The Advanced Propulsion Centre, a non-profit organisation supporting the development of cleaner technologies and new mobility concepts, provided funding in conjunction with the UK government. 

An intense design and development programme started in July 2022, and on 5 June 2023, construction on the prototype got underway. In just three weeks, the first vehicle was completed, with nine more expected to be completed by the end of this year. 

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Thursday, 16/05/2024