Toyota Motor announced it is conducting trials of hydrogen powered vehicles on public roads in Australia as it steps up efforts to popularise the fuel.

Toyota said it started trials involving modified versions of its Hiace van in October, which are scheduled to run until January. A number of local construction and security companies based in Melbourne are operating these vehicles on a commercial basis.

The automaker said it was looking to fine tune its hydrogen engine technology and also wants to determine the feasibility of operating hydrogen powered vehicles in a commercial environment.

Toyota said: “We have installed our hydrogen engines in commercial Hiace vans to conduct on road feasibility testing by companies on public roads in Australia. In doing so, we will hone our hydrogen engine technology.”

Earlier this year the Japanese automaker entered a Corolla powered by liquid hydrogen into a 24-hour endurance race in central Japan, the first such car to participate in an official race.

Hydrogen is currently used mainly in fuel cell vehicles driven by electric motors but has yet to be significantly adopted as fuel for internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.

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By GlobalData