Autoevolution News on $TM: Toyota Working on a Hydrogen-Powered Hilux Pickup That Uses the Mirai's Fuel Cell Tech

When it comes to electrification, Toyota continues to go against the industry trends like a gambler who is aware of losing but still doubles down, hoping the tides might turn. The maker of the fuel-cell powered Mirai wants to develop the hydrogen fuel-cell technology further and transplant it into a Hilux pickup truck. But instead of betting its own money, Toyota established a consortium with four other British companies to receive funding from the UK government.

Toyota would not admit to this and claims instead that it needed the expertise of these companies. According to Toyota’s press release, Ricardo is a consultancy that will “support the technical integration of the fuel cell components into the Hilux chassis.” ETL will contribute its thermal management solutions to the project, while D2H will bring its thermodynamic expertise. Finally, Thatcham Research will help with crash safety and insurance ratings.

Of course, Toyota couldn’t have done it without them, and I don’t mean developing the fuel-cell Hilux. Toyota has enough experience with engineering a fuel-cell vehicle. But despite that, we’re fairly certain it couldn’t have obtained UK government funding without involving these British companies in the project.


I am glad there is an alternative to battery operated cars. I personally would be more interested in this hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. Hydrogen is plentiful in our atmosphere and can be produced more efficiently as a fuel source vs charging up batteries (slowly) that only last hours and at best 300 miles. We need to see what goes into these fuel cells however. Humbly…doc

Hydrogen is the most abundant element but is rarely found by itself as H2. Considerable energy must be applied to generate H2, with a lot of energy losses in the synthesis process, typically through the application of electricity, plus significant transport losses. Far more efficient to merely use the electricity to charge a battery.

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.

I’m not so sure this is universally true. Furthermore, hydrogen needs to be DELIVERED, and needs to be refueled at specific locations. That adds an ongoing additional “cost” (money, environmental, logistical, etc) that electricity doesn’t have. Basically for the vast majority of EV charging, you park somewhere you need to be anyway*1, and plug in. That’s it.

*1 The majority, probably vast majority, is at night, at home, while you are sleeping.

Actually gentlemen I mispoke. A hydrogen fuel cell uses a hydrogen rich substrate like ammonia or other hydrogen rich compounds (cheap) where the material dissolves across special plastic membranes to make electricity:

Electrolysis is a promising option for carbon-free hydrogen production from renewable and nuclear resources. Electrolysis is the process of using electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. This reaction takes place in a unit called an electrolyzer. Electrolyzers can range in size from small, appliance-size equipment that is well-suited for small-scale distributed hydrogen production to large-scale, central production facilities that could be tied directly to renewable or other non-greenhouse-gas-emitting forms of electricity production.

Hydrogen Production: Electrolysis | Department of Energy

The majority of hydrogen is still made the old fashioned way with generated electricity but these cells make either electricity or hydrogen . Evidently the electricity can be used or the hydrogen can be burned for power creating water, carbon dioxide and heat as waste. Interesting to research this topic…doc


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