Toyota is a pioneer in hybrid technology. The automaker has already produced its first all-electric vehicle. Now, the company has its sights set on hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Many alternative fuel experts believe that hydrogen could be a more practical fuel source than electricity. Toyota isn’t the only automaker interested in hydrogen-powered vehicles, either. Here’s what you need to know about the upcoming hydrogen-powered Toyota Hilux and the HFC (hydrogen fuel cell) space.
The Toyota Hilux could have a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain
CNBC claims Toyota has secured millions in funding to produce a hydrogen fuel cell pickup concept in the UK. Toyota will attempt to create an HFC Toyota Hilux at its Burnaston, England plant.
Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles produce 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 the vehicle’s wheels. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles also often use electric motors.
One of the big advantages that HFC vehicles have over BEVs (battery electric vehicles) is that they do not rely on lithium, nickel and cobalt, which are increasingly difficult to obtain.
Eventually, the auto industry will have such high demand for BEVs that there will be inevitable problems in the supply chain 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.
Does a Toyota Tacoma HFC come?
Many enthusiasts have speculated that a Toyota Tacoma BEV is on the way due to the increase in production of electric pickup trucks. The Tacoma is currently Toyota’s most popular pickup truck in America, and the Tundra just came off a new design and the introduction of a hybrid powertrain option. So the industry is more likely to get an electric Tacoma than an electric Toyota Tundra.
Since the Tacoma is the US equivalent of the Hilux, is Toyota planning a hydrogen fuel cell Taco instead of a Tacoma BEV? There’s no word on any plans to introduce a hydrogen fuel cell Toyota Tacoma anytime soon, but it’s clear that Toyota has no problem experimenting with its midsize 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 an 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 produces 182 horsepower. The Mirai gets the equivalent of 76 mpg in the city and the equivalent of 71 mpg on the highway.
Based on the Mirai, a production version of a hydrogen-powered Hilux will be significantly more expensive than the gasoline-powered model. Does the world need a hydrogen-powered Toyota Tacoma, or should the Japanese automaker continue to develop ICE and BEV vehicles?