Commercial Vehicles

Toyota partners with VDL to roll out heavy-duty hydrogen trucks in Europe


Toyota Motor Europe (TME) has announced its collaboration with Dutch company VDL Groep to deploy heavy-duty trucks in Europe using Toyota’s fuel cell technology. The two companies plan to put the first H2 truck with a retrofitted fuel cell module from Toyota on the road this summer.

More vehicles are expected to follow from autumn onwards, which will be used on various routes in logistics transport for Toyota to prove the suitability of fuel cell trucks for everyday use and consolidate their use.

While technical details on the VDL hydrogen lorry have not been released, Toyota’s fuel cell module for third-party customers is available in two versions for vertical or horizontal installation, depending on the open installation space. The modules come in 60 or 80 kW nominal power and cover a voltage range from 400 to 750 volts. Two modules will likely be installed to meet the power requirements of a truck, but no data is known about the electric drive, buffer battery, and H2 tanks. However, from the published press photos, the cylindrical hydrogen tanks can be seen stacked behind the driver’s cab – a common feature in most H2 trucks.

Toyota’s press release emphasises the general advantages of fuel cell propulsion in trucks, like a lower mass, enabling higher payload compared to comparable battery trucks. Additionally, the refuelling process takes “almost” as long as with a diesel truck, making it a more practical option for long-haul transport, so Toyota.

“We are excited to begin this project with VDL Groep, as it will allow us to further decarbonise the long-haul transport of our components, vehicles and service parts,” said Leon Van Der Merwe, VP of Supply Chain Toyota Motor Europe. “Heavy-duty trucks will remain an important pillar within our multimodal strategy.”

“VDL Special Vehicles believes in a zero-emission future for medium and heavy-duty on- & offroad equipment,” said Hans Bekkers, Commercial Director of VDL Special Vehicles. He added VDL was “extremely proud to work with Toyota Motor Europe on this innovative technology project, which will allow us to expand our activities in hydrogen drivelines”.

VDL and TME also work in the ‘StasHH’ consortium to develop and test a European standard for fuel cell modules for heavy-duty applications.


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