Isuzu, Toyota and Hino plan to jointly develop hydrogen fuel cell powered light trucks for the mass market through their Commercial Japan Partnership Technologies Corporation (CJPT).

The CJPT was established early last year to “help address various challenges facing the transportation industry as well as contribute to the achievement of a carbon-neutral society”.

Toyota sees hydrogen fuel cells as one of a number of low and zero emission technology options “on the road to carbon neutrality” along with battery powered EVs and hybrids “depending on the energy conditions and how customers use their vehicles in the various markets around the world”.

Earlier this month Japan’s leading vehicle manufacturer announced that the CJPT had begun research into hydrogen-powered internal combustion engines (ICE) for heavy-duty commercial vehicles as an additional option to achieve carbon neutrality.

Toyota said the “CJPT will be responsible for planning a jointly developed, mass market, light duty, fuelcell electric truck. The four companies will mobilise their combined knowledge in pursuit of products that meet the performance and conditions required for light duty trucks”.

Toyota said light duty trucks are used mainly for distribution to supermarkets and convenience stores and are often fitted with refrigeration equipment which requires additional power. Light trucks are also required to “drive long distances over extended hours to perform multiple delivery operations in one day”, making fast refuelling essential.

Toyota sees fuel cell technology, using high energy density hydrogen which has zero CO2 emissions while driving, as an effective fuel for these operating conditions.

Toyota said a fuel cell light truck range would be introduced “after January 2023” for use by the partners at actual distribution sites in Fukushima Prefecture and within Tokyo’s social implementation projects.