A consortium led by Toyota, a global leader in the automotive industry, will get millions of dollars to build a hydrogen fuel cell pickup truck in the UK. Toyota announced in a statement on Friday that the fuel cell-powered Hilux pickup prototype would be created at its facility in Burnaston, in the East Midlands of England.
The partnership is led by Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK and is supported by industry investment of £5.7 million (about $7 million) and government funding of £5.6 million from the United Kingdom. The project also involves Ricardo, D2H, Thatcham Research, and ETL.
Toyota stated that Toyota Motor Europe R&D would provide “technical support” even though TMUK is leading the initiative. Initial prototype Hilux vehicles will be made at Burnaston in 2023, according to the funding proposal, it was revealed. “The objective is to ready the vehicle for small series production after successful performance results have been established.”
With the aid of oxygen and hydrogen from a tank, fuel cell technology may produce energy. Fuel cell electric vehicles don’t have any tailpipe emissions, according to the Alternative Fuels Data Center of the U.S. Department of Energy. They only release warm air and water vapor.
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The first Hilux model was created in the 1960s, and since then, other variations of the car have been created. A fuel-cell Hilux would be “perfect for usage in isolated situations where electric vehicle charging is impractical,” according to the U.K. government.
The news from last Friday is Toyota’s most recent action in the industry. In 1992, the company first began focusing on the creation of fuel-cell automobiles. It introduced the Mirai, a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, in 2014.
Toyota has contributed to the creation of larger hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in addition to the Mirai. These include heavy-duty vehicle prototypes and the Sora bus. Toyota is considering employing hydrogen in internal combustion engines in addition to fuel cells.
The company is well-known for its hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, but it is also trying to gain traction in the fiercely competitive battery-electric industry, where companies like Tesla and Volkswagen are vying for dominance.
The bZ4X, Toyota’s all-electric SUV, was the subject of a safety recall in June 2022, which wasn’t without its difficulties. The company has stated that it “will continue to make every effort to flexibly fulfill the needs” of customers “in all nations and locations” by offering numerous powertrains and providing as many options as possible. The company may be planning to invest billions in the development of EV batteries.
By 2030, the U.K. aims to stop selling new diesel and gasoline automobiles, trucks, and vans. All new automobiles and vans must have zero tailpipe emissions starting in 2035. Similar goals are being pursued by the European Union, which the U.K. exited on January 31, 2020.