Toyota Execs Say Hydrogen Fuel Cells Are Ideal For A Tundra-Sized Pickup

Toyota Execs Say Hydrogen Fuel Cells Are Ideal For A Tundra-Sized Pickup

Toyota is one of a handful of automakers that believe hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCVs) are the future of zero-emissions transportation, even though its hydrogen passenger cars never really caught on. However, while fuel cells may not be the best suited for cars, as Toyota’s Mirai vehicle line has proven, they may be a much better match for larger vehicles such as pickups and trucks.

The idea of hydrogen fuel cell pickups is nothing new, and several companies have been interested in creating such a vehicle over the years. Still, none of these projects ever resulted in the creation of FCV pickups that you could buy. However, they were usually overly ambitious startups that lacked the resources and backing to make it happen.

Get Fully Charged

If there’s one company that could make FCV pickups, it would be Toyota

Toyota has a lot of interest and a lot of resources behind developing hydrogen fuel cell technology and making it commercially viable, but so far it has been struggling to make it work.

Toyota is one of the world’s biggest automakers, though, and it’s a leader in FCV technology, so if it wanted to create a pickup using this propulsion system, it could. Automotive News quotes Jay Sackett, Toyota’s chief engineer for advanced mobility and formerly the Toyota Tundra pickup project chief engineer, who said FCV technology “offers a great opportunity for light-duty trucks. You could get to the same amount range for a truck that you would need a very large battery for.”

Sacket spoke about this during an interview at Toyota’s North American Hydrogen HQ, where group vice president Jordan Choby also took to the stage to announce that the hydrogen tanks that Toyota already has would be a perfect fit for a Tundra-sized fuel cell pickup. Choby even noted that they “have a fuel cell Tundra in Japan that we use to tow our hydrogen internal combustion race car.”

Gallery: Toyota hydrogen-fuelled Hilux Prototype pick-up

The two execs made it clear that no decision has been made yet regarding the possible production of an FCV truck, but it would certainly make more sense than a pure battery-powered pickup whose range plummets when towing. With a fuel cell producing electricity onboard from a tank of pressurized hydrogen, a pickup would need a much smaller battery pack. Yet, it would provide more range than a purely electric truck, providing a similar range to a pure combustion truck.

Sacket says a fuel cell pickup is exactly what US truck buyers seek. He explains that “Tundra owners like to tow. Truck owners also want the fast fueling. Hydrogen allows you to do that. You can pump it like gasoline.”

Aside from the single hydrogen fuel cell Tundra it is testing in Japan, Toyota also showcased an FCV version of the Hilux pickup created by its UK arm (pictured). It features the Mirai’s 182-horsepower powertrain repackaged in a truck body and has three tanks in the vehicle’s floor, providing up to 365 miles of range before needing a refill.

Get the best news, reviews, columns, and more delivered straight to your inbox.
For more information, read our
Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

An older report from July 2022 said Toyota was looking to team up with other automakers to create hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles for use in Japan. It announced that it planned to join forces with Daihatsu and Suzuki to develop small vans for urban use and with Isuzu and Hino to make larger vehicles (mainly trucks) for more heavy-duty applications.

Toyota also conducted tests with fuel-cell-equipped Class 8 semi trucks in California. The goal was to match the performance and range provided by conventional diesel trucks, which Toyota said it achieved with the Kenworth T680 FCEV, which had a range of over 300 miles while fully loaded to 82,000 pounds. Filling it up took about 20 minutes, which enabled it to do multiple runs a day, and Toyota says the 10 trucks built for this trial proved highly successful.

Toyota Execs Say Hydrogen Fuel Cells Are Ideal For A Tundra-Sized Pickup

In recent years, there has been a growing trend towards environmental sustainability in the automotive industry. Automakers are increasingly turning to alternative fuel sources to power their vehicles in an effort to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change. One such alternative fuel source that has been gaining traction is hydrogen fuel cells. Toyota executives have recently suggested that hydrogen fuel cells are the ideal choice for powering a Tundra-sized pickup truck.

Toyota has been a pioneer in the development of hydrogen fuel cell technology, with their Mirai sedan being one of the first mass-produced hydrogen fuel cell vehicles on the market. The company has invested heavily in hydrogen fuel cell research and development, as they see it as a key component of their vision for a more sustainable automotive future.

According to Toyota executives, hydrogen fuel cells offer a number of advantages over traditional internal combustion engines and even electric vehicles. One of the primary advantages is the range that hydrogen fuel cell vehicles offer. With a Tundra-sized pickup truck being used for tasks that often require long-distance travel, the range of a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle would make it a more practical choice than an electric vehicle that may require frequent charging.

Additionally, Toyota executives point out that hydrogen fuel cell vehicles can be refueled quickly, much like a traditional gasoline-powered vehicle. This is in contrast to electric vehicles, which can take several hours to recharge fully. This fast refueling time would make hydrogen fuel cell vehicles more convenient for drivers who rely on their vehicles for work or other activities that require frequent travel.

Furthermore, Toyota executives argue that hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are more environmentally friendly than traditional internal combustion engines. Hydrogen fuel cells produce zero emissions, with the only byproduct being water vapor. This would make a hydrogen fuel cell-powered Tundra-sized pickup truck a cleaner and more sustainable option for drivers who are looking to reduce their carbon footprint.

While there are still challenges to overcome, such as building out a hydrogen refueling infrastructure, Toyota executives believe that hydrogen fuel cells have the potential to revolutionize the automotive industry. They see a future where hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, such as a Tundra-sized pickup truck, are commonplace on the road, helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change.

In conclusion, Toyota executives have made a compelling case for why hydrogen fuel cells are the ideal choice for powering a Tundra-sized pickup truck. With their range, fast refueling time, and environmental benefits, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles have the potential to be a game-changer in the automotive industry. As automakers continue to embrace alternative fuel sources, hydrogen fuel cells may very well be the future of sustainable transportation.