Toyota’s visionary hydrogen Hilux prototype picks up What Van? Editor’s Choice Award 

7 December 2023

Toyota’s exploration of how hydrogen could be a fuel of future for its legendary Hilux pick-up has been recognised with the What Van? Editor’s Choice Award. 

Earlier this year, Toyota unveiled a new hydrogen fuel cell electric Hilux prototype, developed in a Government-supported joint project with consortium partners at its Burnaston car plant in Derbyshire. 

Hilux is a global icon of the Toyota brand with a reputation for exceptional reliability and durability. The development project explored how these qualities might be maintained while adopting a new electrified powertrain. Thanks to hydrogen being light in weight, light duty fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) can offer higher payload and towing capabilities compared to other zero emission alternatives. 

James Dallas, What Van? Editor, said: “Hydrogen could make sense as the fuel of the future for pick-up trucks and Toyota’s UK-built prototype fuel-cell Hilux is leading the way. 

“Battery electric vehicle technology might not be the best alternative to the internal combustion engine when it comes to tough, off-road vehicles such as pick-up trucks, particularly because of the need to fit a battery that could be vulnerable to damage. Could hydrogen be the answer? Toyota intends to find out and has developed a fuel cell prototype Hilux pick-up truck at its Burnaston plant in Derbyshire, which makes it a worthy winner of the Editor’s Choice Award.” 

In addition to its exploration of FCEV possibilities, Toyota confirmed at its recent Kenshiki forum that the Hilux range will be developed in 2024 to include a new hybrid electric version, the Hilux 48V. This sees Hilux’s powerful 2.8 litre engine strengthened with the addition of a hybrid 48V system, designed to meet the demands of Toyota’s dual-use pick-up.  

The engine drives a compact motor generator using a belt system, which in turn charges a 48V lithium battery. The compact battery weighs just 7.6kg and is installed beneath the rear seats, minimising the impact on cabin space. It also supplies the vehicle’s 12V system through a DC/DC converter. 

Like Toyota’s full hybrid electric systems, the battery is charged during deceleration, efficiently regenerating braking energy and providing additional braking performance. Once charged, it sends up to 12kW of power and 65Nm of torque through the motor-generator to the engine to enhance acceleration, power and efficiency. In the UK, the Hilux 48V will be offered in Invincible and Invincible X grades, with automatic transmission. 


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Toyota’s visionary hydrogen Hilux prototype picks up What Van? Editor’s Choice Award 


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