Toyota to Develop a Hydrogen Fuel Cell Toyota Hilux for the U.K.

Toyota is a pioneer in hybrid technology. The automaker has already produced its first fully-electric vehicle. Now, the company has its sights set on hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Many alternative fuel experts believe that hydrogen could potentially be a more practical source of fuel than electricity. Toyota isn’t the only automaker interested in hydrogen-powered vehicles either. Here’s what you need to know about an upcoming hydrogen-powered Toyota Hilux and the HFC (hydrogen fuel cell) space.

The Toyota Hilux could get a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain

CNBC claims that Toyota has secured millions in funding to produce a hydrogen fuel cell pickup truck concept in the U.K. Toyota will attempt to create a HFC Toyota Hilux in its Burnaston, England plant.

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles make electricity by fusing oxygen and hydrogen atoms. So, instead of relying on a lithium-ion battery to produce electricity like battery electric vehicles, HFC vehicles rely on hydrogen to generate electricity that drives power to the wheels of the vehicle. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles also often use electric motors as well.

One of the big advantages that HFC vehicles have over BEVs (battery-electric vehicles) is that they don’t depend on lithium, nickel, and cobalt, which are becoming increasingly difficult to source.

Eventually, the auto industry will have such a high demand for BEVs that there will be inevitable supply chain issues for battery materials. Hydrogen often comes from natural gas, but a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle is much more efficient than an internal combustion engine vehicle.

Is a Toyota Tacoma HFC coming?

A white 2024 Toyota Tacoma Electric is parked.
The 2024 Toyota Tacoma Electric concept | Toyota

Many gearheads have speculated that a Toyota Tacoma BEV is on the way because of the rise in electric pickup truck production. The Tacoma is currently Toyota’s most popular pickup truck in America, and the Tundra is fresh off of a new redesign and the introduction of a hybrid powertrain option. So, it’s more likely that the industry will get an electric Tacoma before an electric Toyota Tundra.

Since the Tacoma is the American equivalent to the Hilux, is Toyota planning a hydrogen fuel cell Taco instead of a Tacoma BEV? There’s no news of any plans to introduce a hydrogen fuel cell Toyota Tacoma anytime soon, but it’s clear that Toyota has no issues getting experimental with its midsize pickup truck platform.

Toyota already produces a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle

The idea of a hydrogen-powered Toyota Hilux or Tacoma may seem far-fetched, but the Japanese automaker already has experience producing a HFC nameplate.

The 2022 Toyota Mirai is the brand’s current North American hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. The midsize car starts at $49,500. It makes 182 horsepower. The Mirai gets 76 miles per gallon equivalent in the city and 71 miles per gallon equivalent on the highway.

Based on the Mirai, a production version of a hydrogen-powered Hilux will be significantly more expensive than the gas-powered model. Does the world need a hydrogen-powered Toyota Tacoma, or should the Japanese automaker stick to developing ICE vehicles and BEVs?