Development begins on hydrogen fuel cell Toyota HiLux in the UK

Alexi Falson

A government-funded consortium headlined by Toyota’s UK manufacturing arm has announced plans to develop a Toyota HiLux ute powered by a hydrogen fuel cell.

The news comes from D2H Advanced Technologies, who says that it is involved in a two-year project to produce a hydrogen HiLux that will culminate in a series of prototypes, even the “consideration” of a small series production run for the market.

Considering that the project is still very much in its early days, we don’t have any powertrain or hardware details to report on, other than the fact the group is looking to integrate fuel cell components from the second-generation Toyota Mirai.

For reference, the Toyota Mirai features a single electric motor powertrain pushing out 134kW/300Nm, with Toyota claiming 650km of driving range on the WLTP test cycle from its 141L hydrogen storage tanks.

The hydrogen HiLux project has received funding from the UK Government through its Advanced Propulsion Centre, which has previously provided funds to Jaguar Land Rover for a hydrogen fuel cell Defender and McLaren for its future BMW-sourced powertrains.

The group says that the first hydrogen HiLux prototypes should be ready to hit the road in 2023 for testing, and has confirmed that a small-scale production run is indeed a possibility. Senior engineer at D2H, Adam Evans, said:

“The UK’s fast-approaching 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel-powered vehicles includes pickups, and that has implications for the off-highway, construction, and utilities sectors that depend on these reliable workhorses. Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cell technology, as proven in the Mirai, provides one possible solution to the challenge of keeping these industries on the move in environments where battery-electric powertrains often prove impractical.”

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