Remember the Toyota Hilux hydrogen fuel cell prototype that began development late last year? Well, the prototype is now completed and has been revealed by Toyota Motor UK (TMUK). While a 48V hybrid system will debut in the Hilux next year, it seems the UK division of the company believes that a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain is a feasible option for the popular Toyota Hilux.
The Toyota Hilux hydrogen fuel cell prototype is built by TMUK and Toyota Motor Europe with consortium partners Ricardo, ETL, D2H Advanced Technologies, and Thatcham Research. It also received funding from the UK Government through the Advanced Propulsion Centre, a non-profit organisation supporting the development of cleaner technologies and new mobility concepts.
Only a prototype for now, Toyota UK has shared several key technical details of the hydrogen Hilux. Essentially unchanged on the outside (other than the hydrogen stickers), the hydrogen fuel cell Hilux uses powertrain core elements from the Toyota Mirai, which is the brand’s hydrogen fuel cell car which has been in existence since 2014.
3 high-pressure fuel tanks are used on the hydrogen Hilux and Toyota claims that this provides over 587 km of range, although the test cycle used is not detailed. Toyota says that the range provided by the prototype Hilux’s hydrogen system is “significantly further than might be achieved with a battery electric system”.
The hydrogen fuel cell system still uses a battery, albeit to store electricity produced by the hydrogen fuel cell system. The battery is positioned in the rear load deck, avoiding loss of cabin space.
Toyota announced the beginning of the development of the Hilux hydrogen fuel cell prototype late last year, but feasibility studies have already begun in early 2022. The construction of the first prototype began in June 2023 and was completed three weeks later. Another 9 will be built by the end of 2023 and they will undergo rigorous testing around the world to ensure safety, dynamic performance, functionality, and durability meet the high standards required of a production model.