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Hydrogen fuel cell trucks to decarbonise Toyota logistics in Europe

- VDL Groep to convert existing heavy-duty trucks into zero-emission carriers using Toyota fuel cell modules

- Logistic partners to use the new fuel cell trucks within Toyota Motor Europe’s logistics network

- Decarbonising the Toyota logistics network marks yet another step toward reducing the company’s overall carbon footprint

Brussels – WEBWIRE

Toyota Motor Europe (TME) has joined forces with the Dutch VDL Groep (VDL) to break into the market of zero-emission heavy-duty hydrogen trucks in Europe, using Toyota’s fuel cell technology. The cooperation aims to accelerate the decarbonisation of the road logistics sector, an important factor on meeting TME’s goals to achieve full carbon-neutral strategy by 2040.

The company sees significant potential in using hydrogen trucks to decarbonise its logistic routes. The lower mass of hydrogen systems allows for heavier payload and the fast refuelling of hydrogen is essential for transport with high utilisation. Hydrogen can refuel a truck as quickly as diesel and the usage patterns of trucks with their demand for larger volumes of hydrogen position them as key contributors in maturing sustainable infrastructures around key routes.

’’VDL Special Vehicles believes in a zero-emission future for medium and heavy-duty on- & offroad equipment. We are therefore extremely proud to work with Toyota Motor Europe on this innovative technology project, which will allow us to expand our activities in hydrogen drivelines.“

Hans Bekkers, Commercial Director VDL Special Vehicles 

VDL Groep will build the first fuel cell truck by the summer of 2023, followed by more vehicles to be produced and assessed on TME logistics routes in the autumn of 2023. The project will consolidate learnings on how to deploy fuel cell trucks, further supporting the company’s long-term vision of decarbonising logistics and reducing Toyota’s carbon footprint beyond the electrification of passenger vehicles. 

’’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. Heavy-duty trucks will remain an important pillar within our multimodal strategy, and the introduction of zero-emission trucks, equipped with our Toyota fuel cell modules, will have a strong impact on the overall carbon reduction of our logistics.

Leon Van Der Merwe, VP Supply Chain Toyota Motor Europe 

Fuel cell trucks also have a key role in the growth of the wider European hydrogen ecosystem, strongly supporting transport decarbonization and an ecological energy transition. Heavy-duty vehicles are critical in generating a healthy supply and demand dynamic for hydrogen. The profitable feedback loop will stimulate the development of a sustainable infrastructure, while allowing other new mobility applications to emerge. The infrastructure for hydrogen trucks can simply be stretched to other  hydrogen vehicles that can use the same hydrogen refueling stations. This new truck project is one of many that Toyota has recently put into place with multiple partners, including those for light commercial vehicles, boats, trains and buses, with the goal of accelerating the transition to a hydrogen economy.

About VDL Special Vehicles

VDL Special Vehicles is a specialist in the field of battery electric and hydrogen solutions for on- and off-road vehicles. As a contract manufacturer, we provide production capacity for small to medium-sized series of (parts of) zero-emission vehicles. In addition, we can also support in areas such as product development, prototyping, and certification of zero-emission drivelines, up to the extent of fully developing an alternative driveline for your application. VDL Special Vehicles enables its customers to Offer vehicle solutions that make the world a cleaner place. Our background lies in the development and production of chassis for buses and coaches in a variety of applications. It is because of this experience that we started developing zero-emission drivelines more than 20 years ago. This knowledge and experience have been used over the past two decades to develop various hydrogen and battery-electric solutions for medium and heavy road vehicles such as buses and trucks. Our engineering team is capable of integrating these and other solutions into existing third-party vehicles. Examples include construction, agricultural, port, or airport equipment. In addition, as a contract manufacturer, we offer third parties the opportunity to have their zero-emission vehicles produced in our facilities.

VDL Special Vehicles is part of the international, industrial family business VDL Groep, with its head office in the Eindhoven Brainport region, the Netherlands. It was founded in 1953 and now, 70 years later, the third Van der Leegte family generation has been at the group’s helm since 2017. VDL Groep has over 16,000 employees and operates in 19 countries. The group comprises more than 100 operating companies, each with its own specialism, working together intensively. The activities of these companies can be summarised in the ‘five worlds of VDL’: Science, Technology & Health, Mobility, Energy & Sustainability, Infratech and Foodtech. The combined annual revenue in 2022 amounted to €5.752 billion. Read more on

Toyota Motor Europe NV/SA (TME) oversees the wholesale sales and marketing of Toyota, GR (Gazoo Racing) and Lexus vehicles and parts and accessories, as well as Toyota’s European manufacturing and engineering operations. Toyota directly employs over 25,000 people and has invested over EUR 11 billion in Europe since 1990. Its eight European manufacturing plants are located in Portugal, the UK, France, Poland, Czech Republic and Turkey. Today, there are approximately 16.5 million Toyota, GR and Lexus vehicles on European roads, whose drivers are supported by a network of 28 National Marketing and Sales Companies and around 2,800 retail sales outlets in 53 countries (EU, UK, EFTA countries + Russia, Israel, Turkey and other Eastern European countries). In 2022, TME sold 1,080,975 vehicles in Europe for a 6.4% market share. For more information, visit Facts & Figures ( and

Toyota believes that when people are free to move, anything is possible. In the pursuit of ”Mobility for All", Toyota aims to create safer, more connected, inclusive and sustainable mobility to achieve its mission of producing “Happiness for All”. In Europe, TME launched the KINTO mobility brand which offers a range of mobility services in 14 countries, and is growing its business-to-business sales of zero-emission fuel cell products and engineering support. Contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Toyota is working to achieve carbon neutrality in its entire business across Europe. A historic leader in CO2 reduction in Europe, TME aims to achieve 100% CO2 reduction in all new vehicles in Western Europe by 2035 and will continue to offer a full range of electrified powertrains to customers across the region with its hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery and fuel cell electric vehicles.  

Toyota views hydrogen as one of the key building blocks towards carbon neutrality, using fuel cell technology for mobility and in the wider economy beyond transport. As a hydrogen frontrunner, Toyota’s advanced fuel cell technology is already integrated into passenger cars, buses, trucks, trains, marine and stationary applications for a range of business customers and other OEMs. To meet growing demand in the region, TME started producing its 2nd generation compact fuel cell modules in Europe in January 2022. In terms of infrastructure, Toyota’s long-term vision is to establish 700bar as a standard for fuel cell electric vehicles and products.


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