Toyota Motor Europe (TME) has joined forces with the Dutch VDL Groep (VDL) to break into the market for heavy-duty hydrogen fuelled trucks, using Toyota’s fuel cell technology.
The project has the potential to accelerate the decarbonisation of the road logistics sector, an important element in TME’s strategy to achieve full carbon neutrality by 2040.
The hydrogen system’s lower weight allows heavier payloads to be carried and its rapid refuelling time is ideal for transport that needs to be kept on the move. Trucks can be filled up with hydrogen just as quickly as with diesel and their demand for large volumes of hydrogen positions them as key contributors to the development of sustainable infrastructures around key routes.
Hans Bekkers said, “VDL Special Vehicles believes in a zero-emission future for medium and heavy-duty on and off-road equipment. We are therefore extremely proud to work with Toyota on this innovative technology project, which will allow us to expand our activities in hydrogen drivelines.”
VDL will build its first fuel cell truck by summer this year, followed by more vehicles which will be assessed on Toyota’s logistics routes in the autumn. The project will consolidate learnings on how to deploy fuel cell trucks, supporting Toyota’s longer-term vision of decarbonising logistics and reducing its carbon footprint, going beyond the electrification of its passenger vehicles.
Leon Van Der Merwe said, “We are excited to begin this project with VDL Groep, as it will allow us to further decarbonise the long-haul transport of our components, vehicles and service parts. Heavy-duty trucks will remain an important pillar in our multimodal strategy, and the introduction of zero-emission trucks, equipped with our Toyota fuel cell modules, will have a strong impact on the overall carbon reduction of our logistics.”
Fuel cell trucks will also have a key role in the growth of a wider European hydrogen ecosystem, strongly supporting transport decarbonisation and an ecological energy transition. Heavy-duty trucks are critical in the generation of a healthy supply and demand dynamic for hydrogen. The profitable feedback loop will stimulate the development of sustainable infrastructure while allowing other new mobility applications to emerge.
The infrastructure for hydrogen trucks can simply be extended to support other hydrogen vehicles that can use the same filling stations. This new project is one of many Toyota has recently established with multiple partners; others include light commercial vehicles, boats, trains and buses, with the goal of accelerating the transition to a hydrogen economy.