Toyota Motor said it plans to begin trials of hydrogen powered fuel cell delivery trucks in Japan next year with the collaboration with three major domestic convenience store operators.

The trials will use light duty trucks with a maximum payload of three tonnes that are currently under development jointly by Toyota Motor and its commercial vehicle subsidiary Hino Motors and will involve convenience store operators Seven-Eleven, Family Mart and Lawson. The trucks will have a cruising travel range of around 400km (250 miles) on a tank of hydrogen.

The aim of the trials is to determine the practicality and viability of using hydrogen fuel cell powered light duty trucks for transporting goods between local distribution centres and convenience stores. 

The study will also identify the main challenges and analyse the cost effectiveness of establishing the necessary refueling infrastructure, determine the optimum travel range and load capacity and trial fast refueling stations.

Last week the Japanese government announced it was considering banning the sale of conventional internal combustion engine vehicles in the country by 2035 to help achieve carbon emissions neutrality by 2050.

Hydrogen fuel cells are seen as a viable alternative to diesel to fuel medium and long distance trucks with more and more automakers investing heavily to develop this technology.

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