The group wants to prove the viability of the technology in more commercial products.
D2H Advanced Technologies is working with other British entities to create a hydrogen fuel cell-powered Toyota Hilux. It's in partnership with Toyota Motoring Manufacturing UK Ltd (TMUK) and is funded by the UK Government by way of the Advanced Propulsion Center.
The goal of the project is to find a way to integrate the second-generation fuel cell components used in the Toyota Mirai into an electrically-propelled Hilux. The group wants to do this while finding ways to maintain the performance and reliability that the Hilux is legendarily known for. This project will help companies understand how viable the tech is for other commercial vehicles along with work to build up the overall skill and understanding so the industry can prepare for a hydrogen future.
The project is scheduled to run for the next two years to the tune of £11.3 million ($13.8 million.) Prototype vehicles will be built at TMUK's Burnaston facility in 2023 with the possibility of a limited run of production if things go well. The group involved consists of Ricardo, European Thermodynamics Ltd and Thatcham Research.
Darren Davies, D2H Advanced Technologies' Chief Executive, said: "We're incredibly proud to have been selected to work on this pioneering project with Toyota, and to have the opportunity to work with the other consortium partners who all represent the finest talent available within the UK's automotive industry."
D2H joins the consortium as an expert in using class-leading digital technology to develop and produce projects across transport and high-performance sectors. It's knowledge in simulation, aerodynamics, and thermodynamics with regards to competitive motorsport uniquely suits it to develop cooling systems and airflow strategies that deliver maximum efficiency from the vehicle.
"The UK's fast-approaching 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel-powered vehicles includes pickups, and that has implications for the off-highway, construction, and utilities sectors that depend on these reliable workhorses," said Adam Evans, D2H's Senior Engineer on the project. "Our experience of developing technical and engineering solutions to complex problems that are both efficient and commercially cost-effective will be put to good use."
Toyota has been going crazy the past couple of years with hydrogen fuel cell projects. The company has been taking its Mirai hydrogen technology and cramming it into a Corolla race car, a GR Yaris, and even has plans to make a hydrogen-powered Corolla Cross. The company has made a commitment to the technology that it believes will bring the world closer to a carbon-neutral future while also bringing it profits. If this project works out, Toyota will be one step closer to proving its detractors wrong.