Toyota’s hydrogen-powered Hilux reaches testing phase

Toyota’s ground-breaking project to realise a hydrogen-powered Hilux pick-up has moved into its next and final phase, signalling another milestone in the vehicle manufacturer’s progress towards a zero-carbon future.

Since the first prototype vehicle was unveiled in September 2023, Toyota and its consortium partners, supported by UK government funding, have reached an intensive evaluation and demonstration stage.

Toyota’s hydrogen-powered Hilux

The latest landmark in this joint development project further demonstrates the broad scope of Toyota’s multi-path strategy towards carbon neutrality, applying different powertrain solutions – hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid electric, battery electric, fuel cell electric and e-fuels – to suit different user needs and local infrastructure.

A total of 10 fuel cell Hilux prototypes have now been built at the Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK facility in Derby. Five vehicles are undergoing rigorous field testing to assess safety, performance, functionality, and durability, generating test drive data in real-world situations. Five further units are engaged in customer and media demonstrations, including two at the forthcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024.

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

The fuel cell Hilux prototype project is an important stepping stone to further develop hydrogen technology and stimulate a wider roll-out of hydrogen eco-systems and infrastructure across Europe.

Vehicle profile

Based on the established and respected Toyota Hilux, with its reputation for quality, durability and reliability on some of the world’s toughest terrain, the hydrogen fuel cell prototype Toyota Hilux showcases how fuel cell technology can be integrated into a pick-up.

Externally, the fuel cell Hilux retains the same dimensions and rugged appearance as the latest Hilux. In extra-cab format, it is 5,325mm long, 1,855mm wide and 1,810mm tall but beneath the surface, Toyota’s fuel cell technology marks it out as a trailblazer.

Power is delivered using core elements from the Toyota Mirai – technology that has proved its quality in almost a decade of commercial production since Toyota introduced the world’s first mass-produced hydrogen fuel cell sedan in 2015.

Hydrogen-powered Hilux

The hydrogen-powered Hilux has an expected driving range of up to 600km – further than might be achieved with a battery electric system. Meanwhile, thanks to hydrogen’s light weight, a higher payload and towing capability can be achieved compared to other zero-emission alternatives.

Hydrogen is stored in three high-pressure fuel tanks, each containing 2.6kg for a total system capacity of 7.8kg. The tanks are mounted within the ladder frame chassis.

The polymer electrolyte fuel cell stack contains 330 cells and is mounted above the front axle. The fuel cell Hilux is rear-wheel drive via an e-motor on the rear axle which delivers 134 kW (182 DIN hp) of maximum power and 300 Nm maximum torque. When driving, the fuel cell produces no tailpipe emissions, only pure water.

A lithium-ion hybrid battery, which stores the electricity produced on-board by the fuel cell, is positioned in the rear load deck, above the hydrogen tanks. This avoids any loss of cabin space.