Toyota to Supply Hydrogen Fuel Cells to Truck Start-Up

Toyota is to begin supplying hydrogen fuel cell modules to a European start-up truck maker as it seeks to accelerate its technology for the commercial market.

The automaker is chief among manufacturers in adopting a multi-faceted view of future zero emission powertrains and not committed to the belief that BEV suits all applications. So it is partnering French truck manufacturer Hyliko which will integrate Toyota’s second generation hydrogen fuel cell modules into heavy-duty trucks to build a zero emission fleet. This latest co-operation increases Toyota’s portfolio of partnerships in which it is providing its fuel cell technology to support hydrogen initiatives in diverse areas, including trains, buses, generators and marine.

Hyliko will offer two fuel cell truck models: a 44-ton tractor and a 26-ton straight truck, available in 6×2 and 6×4 variants. Each vehicle will be equipped with two Toyota fuel cell modules. As part of its truck leasing program, Hyliko plans to introduce its own green hydrogen infrastructure, including fuel production, storage and distribution.

Toyota Motor Europe’s (TME) fuel cell wing is looking to expand into the wider commercial vehicle sector to exploit potential in heavy-duty trucks, which are currently responsible for transporting 77% of all European road freight. The lower weight of a hydrogen fuel cell system compared to BEV and even ICE powertrains allows the trucks to carry a heavier payload, while the speed of refueling means they are not off the road for long, maintaining efficient high usage rates. Their patterns of deployment and their demand for larger volumes of hydrogen fuel could see them as key contributors to the development of sustainable infrastructures.

The automaker says that because hydrogen is a key pillar in Europe’s energy strategy, it is prioritizing the expansion of different types of fuel cell applications, stimulating both supply and demand to develop viable business models. TME’s partnership strategy aims to develop synergies between different business sectors and supporting communities and industries that want to become fully fledged hydrogen corridors.

Thiebault Paquet, TME vice-president R&D and head of its fuel cell business, said: “Hyliko is a dynamic start-up with a broad vision for hydrogen. It plans to offer all the main components of an eco-cluster: a fuel cell truck, the supply of green hydrogen and a leasing and maintenance scheme. Having such a holistic and long-term view on the growth of a viable hydrogen ecosystem is necessary for business sustainability and to reassure investors.

“Together with partners like Hyliko, we will continue to stimulate eco-systems around Europe towards a larger hydrogen society, as one of the main building blocks to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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