TOKYO (Reuters) – Toyota said on Tuesday it will work with partner automakers to develop fuel cell commercial vehicles and light trucks.
The models will be developed for a project to promote the widespread use of electric vehicles and, ultimately, for the mass market. The project, which is expected to start in January 2023, will see vehicles being used to transport goods between Tokyo and Fukushima.
Toyota said it will work with small car specialists Daihatsu and Suzuki to develop small electric commercial vehicles, with the aim of starting production next year and starting mass market sales in due course.
Small cars, which in petrol versions have a displacement of up to 600 cc, are a niche segment for Japan. Small commercial vehicles represent about 60% of all commercial fleets in the country and cover many places that are only accessible due to their small size.
Toyota will work with truck makers Isuzu and Hino to develop light trucks that run on fuel cells.
The project is scheduled to last until March 2030 and is being organized by a consortium of electric commercial vehicles led by Toyota, with the participation of local governments, transportation and energy companies.
About 580 vehicles will be manufactured for the use of the project.
(By Satoshi Sugiyama)