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A Toyota-led consortium has been awarded £11.3m in funding from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy to develop a hydrogen variant of its Hilux pickup truck.

The hydrogen Hilux will be developed at Toyota’s Derbyshire vehicle plant and use parts from Toyota’s existing hydrogen car the Mirai.

Richard Kenworthy, managing director at Toyota Manufacturing UK, said: “The opportunity that this funding enables is significant and goes towards developing the technical capabilities not only of our employees here at our site in Burnaston in the East Midlands but also of those within the wider consortium partners.”

Toyota is joined in the consortium with UK engineering partners Ricardo, ETL, D2H and Thatcham Research.

Its investment allows Toyota to develop hydrogen-related technology over the next three years. Hydrogen technology is still a nascent field, with only a few hydrogen-powered vehicles currently on the market.

Hydrogen fuel cells combine oxygen and hydrogen atoms to produce electricity, with water and a small amount of heat as byproducts instead of harmful emissions.

Grant Shapps, business secretary, said: “Seizing the potential from new technologies will be a key part of its future success, while also making our roads cleaner, greener and more affordable.”

Prototypes of the Toyota hydrogen pickup will be produced before an anticipated “small series production”.

UK startups that are looking to make use of hydrogen tech contain hydrogen-electric truck manufacturer Tevva and hydrogen device maker Levidian.

In October, The Tees Valley Hydrogen Transport Hub announced the launch of a £20m hydrogen transport competition.