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Toyota to develop hydrogen-powered Hilux in the UK

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Multinational automotive producer Toyota, in cooperation with select partners, has secured funding from the UK government in developing a version of its iconic Hilux pick-up truck that will be powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

Toyota will receive the funding through the Advanced Propulsion Centre, which aims to support the development of new concepts and cleaner technologies for mobility. With the participation of Thatcham Research, D2H, Ricardo, and ETL, the project will explore how fuel cell components from the Toyota Mirai range could be incorporated into the Toyota Hilux.

Throughout the design process, Thatcham Research will use its expertise to assess how the adaptations may affect safety and whether they could create new challenges when repairing vehicles. Its chief revenue officer, Miller Crockart, said that his company was pleased to be working with Ricardo and Toyota on the project, adding:

“Whilst pure battery electric vehicles are the poster child for decarbonisation in the automotive sector, continued research and the development of alternative fuel types, such as hydrogen, also hold the potential to play a key part in achieving UK carbon neutrality goals.”

Hydrogen is, in itself, a clean-burning fuel, but most hydrogen today is made from fossil fuels, which is why energy and lubricant companies like Shell and BP are developing plans to produce low-carbon hydrogen on an industrial scale. While battery electric vehicles are suitable for many applications, vehicles like the Toyota Hilux often operate in remote off-grid locations, so basing such vehicles on hydrogen fuel cells may be an attractive option.

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