Toyota plans to introduce a new generation of hydrogen fuel cells in 2026
Based on 30 years of experience, they are expected to have higher energy density (16.3 kW/l), resulting in a 20% increase in vehicle range. The current hydrogen-powered Mirai can travel approximately 650 km on one tank, but with the improvements, it will reach up to 780 km.
Making hydrogen technology more accessible By reducing the number of cells, this technology will become more accessible to the general public. Toyota also estimates that maintenance costs for trucks equipped with the new generation fuel cells will be significantly lower than those with diesel engines, thanks to a 2.5x longer service interval.
The new generation of fuel cells will also enable more flexible production. The same assembly line will be able to produce different types of cells based on their intended use.
New Hydrogen Tanks
Toyota aims to standardize hydrogen tanks used in commercial vehicles in Europe, the US, and Japan to accelerate their production and facilitate their installation in various types of vehicles. The company is working on compressed and liquid hydrogen tanks for use in large trucks. The use of liquid hydrogen allows for smaller tank dimensions.
Development work is also underway on smaller and more versatile hydrogen tanks that can be easily installed and are compatible with many types of vehicles. Toyota’s goal is to enable the retrofitting of existing vehicles to utilize hydrogen fuel cell electric powertrains or hydrogen combustion engines.
Growing value of the hydrogen sector
Toyota has announced plans for hydrogen technologies and changes in its organizational structure. Starting in July, all aspects of the business – development, production, and sales – will fall under a new organization called Hydrogen Factory. This will accelerate decision-making processes, facilitate regionalization of production, separate research and development, and help establish strategic partnerships to make the technologies more accessible and competitive.
Toyota estimates that the hydrogen sector will be worth 5 trillion yen by 2030, with the largest markets being China, Europe, and North America. The company already has orders for 100,000 fuel cell systems.
On-Road Testing of Vehicles with Hydrogen
Combustion Engine Toyota has been developing hydrogen combustion engine technology for several years as an alternative pathway to reducing CO2 emissions. Prototypes of vehicles with this propulsion system have been tested on closed tracks and in long-distance races.
Now, the brand has obtained permission to conduct tests on public roads, and a conceptual vehicle with this engine has already been registered and approved for operation. Toyota is thus nearing the introduction of this propulsion system to the market.
Diverse Methods of Eco-Friendly
Hydrogen Production Toyota is not only involved in the production of hydrogen-powered vehicles or providing propulsion systems but also in eco-friendly hydrogen production to increase the availability of this fuel, among other applications using existing solutions.
The company has developed a new electrolyzer that enables hydrogen production using hydrogen fuel cell technology from the second-generation Mirai model. Initial tests of this solution are taking place at the DENSO plant in Fukushima.
In Thailand, hydrogen production from poultry biogas and food waste will be launched in collaboration with Mitsubishi Kakoki Corporation and Toyota Tsusho Corporation by the end of 2023.