Hilux Hybrid is all the buzz. But what about Hydrogen?

Rumour and speculation around a future Hybrid version of the South Africa’s best-selling Toyota Hilux are all the rage. But now there’s another clean, green drive contender vying for attention under the hood of the number one bakkie. Enter the Hydrogen Hilux.

The Hydrogen Hilux is the fruit of a project partially funded by the British government and aimed at meeting future new vehicle CO2 limits. The Hilux project strives to prevent prospective owners pinched by green taxes, from ditching future dirty bakkies in favour of cleaner cars.

Hydrogen Hilux

Hydrogen Hilux borrows from Toyota Mirai

The Hydrogen Hilux steals much of its tech from Toyota’s second-generation Mirai fuel cell car that’s already for sale in selected markets. The rear-wheel drive Hydrogen Hilux adopts Mirai’s polymer electrolyte fuel cell powertrain mated to a lithium ion battery.

Three carbon-fibre reinforced-plastic tanks store up to 141 litres, or 5.6 kilograms of hydrogen at 700 bar pressure. It takes five minutes, or as long as petrol or diesel, but far quicker than an electric car charge, to fill a Hydrogen Hilux.

The hydrogen is fed into a 330-cell solid polymer electrolyte fuel stack. It generates electricity by combining the stored hydrogen with atmospheric oxygen. A hybrid-sized 1.2kW lithium-ion battery stores the fuel cell energy along with hybrid regenerated energy.

Hydrogen Hilux

134 kW 300 Nm and close to 600 km range

The battery powers a 134 kW 300 Nm electric motor to drive the rear wheels. The Hydrogen Hilux should deliver close to 600 km range. Water is the only by-product. Bar the decals, the Durban-built cab and a half bakkie appears no different to a turbodiesel Hilux.

“This project is a great opportunity to contribute to the critical path on the road to carbon zero mobility,” Toyota UK MD Richard Kenworthy explains. “UK Government funding enables key skills to investigate future fuel cell applications.”

Battery-electric cars tipped to be the future of motoring. Hydrogen is the most abundant resource on earth to power cars. Hydrogen car infrastructure however lags behind even the struggling electric charging network.

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