A consortium led by Toyota Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd (TMUK) will receive funding from UK Government through the Advanced Propulsion Center (APC) for the development of a hydrogen fuel cell-powered Hilux pickup.
In collaboration with Ricardo, ETL, D2H and Thatcham Research, Toyota will adopt second-generation Toyota fuel cell components (as used in the latest Toyota Mirai) for the transformation of a Hilux into a fuel cell electric vehicle.
Ricardo will integrate the complete hydrogen fuel cell, fuel storage system, and controls including design, analysis, and validation. The integration ensures efficient operation of all systems to give an excellent vehicle range and supports attributes for longevity and reliability.
ETL (European Thermodynamics) will support in delivering thermal management solutions.
D2H will use its expertise in simulation, aerodynamics and thermodynamics—honed over many years in competitive motorsport—to address the many challenges involved in developing cooling systems and airflow strategies that deliver maximum efficiency. Crucial to the project is the need to maintain performance and reliability, factors that are critical in commercial vehicles, while also ensuring any solution can be produced cost-effectively.
Thatcham Research was established by the motor insurance industry in 1969, with the specific aim of containing or reducing the cost of motor insurance claims while maintaining safety standards. It will support in terms of crash safety and insurance ratings.
While TMUK is leading the project, a team from Toyota Motor Europe (TME) R&D will provide expert technical support to enable the UK-based teams to build its own expertise and self-sufficiency to develop next-generation hydrogen drivetrain capabilities.
Toyota applied for APC funding last year, presenting a project to contribute to the development of new, cleaner technologies and mobility solutions. The APC plays a fundamental role in the UK automotive landscape and offers unique opportunities to bridge the gap between industry and future technological requirements. This funding specifically supports later stage R&D that takes a product from proof of concept to prototype vehicles.
For more than 20 years, Toyota has been promoting a multi-path approach to carbon neutrality by offering a diverse vehicle line-up including all electrified technologies: hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid electric, battery electric and fuel cell electric. The development of a successful hydrogen transport sector is an essential building block towards this goal.
Within the scope of the bid, the initial prototype vehicles will be produced at the TMUK site in Burnaston during 2023. Following successful performance results, the target is to prepare for small series production.
Toyota said that the project represents an exciting opportunity to investigate an additional application of Toyota’s fuel cell technology in a vehicle segment that is key to a number of industry groups and will help support the sector’s move towards decarbonization.