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Australian-first Toyota hydrogen-fuelled vehicle pilot completed

Australian-first Toyota hydrogen-fuelled vehicle pilot completed

CPB Contractors, a member of the CIMIC Group, has completed an Australian-first pilot of Toyota’s prototype HiAce powered by a hydrogen-fuelled internal combustion engine (ICE).

The month-long trial saw CPB Contractors substitute one of its diesel-fuelled Toyota vans with the new ultra-low CO2 tailpipe emission vehicle. Used to transport workers from various sites on two major infrastructure projects in Melbourne, the Hydrogen HiAce underwent refuelling at Toyota’s Centre of Excellence in Altona over the four weeks.

Benita Husband, engineering director at CPB Contractors, said the company has a long history of working with Toyota, emphasising their mutual commitment to continually improve efficiency, performance and safety.

“Their team is aware of our desire to be involved in the early trailling and adoption of new innovations, particularly in the sustainability space, and this pilot has proven to be incredibly beneficial not just for CPB Contractors and Toyota but for the wider industry,” said Husband. “As we continue to explore the most sustainable vehicles, machinery and equipment to implement across our business, hydrogen is an important part of the solution.”

“This trial with Toyota has allowed us to test the user experience, determining there is an equal or even better solution for our people who drive these vehicles.”

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The plant and asset team at CPB Contractors, along with the drivers who operated the vehicle, unanimously reported a positive driving experience. They found that the Hydrogen HiAce performs comparably to a conventional bus, exhibiting no limitations in terms of speed control or braking. Given the similarities of this sustainable vehicle model to that of CPB Contractors’ current fleet, the trial demonstrates the Hydrogen HiAce is a viable alternative. The success of this pilot underscores the potential of such sustainable vehicle models, suggesting that, with the right supply and distribution of hydrogen, they could indeed offer a practical commercial solution for reducing petrol and diesel consumption as well as CO2 emissions in the future.

Toyota Australia vice president of sales and marketing Sean Hanley said the pilot program with CPB Contractors was the latest step in Toyota’s global multi-pathway approach to decarbonisation.

“The prototype Hydrogen HiAce will be driven in real-world conditions by Australian companies such as CPB Contractors, that are interested in the potential for fit-for-purpose commercial vehicles with ultra-low CO2 tailpipe emissions,” said Hanley. “Through this customer drive program, they will have the opportunity to evaluate the technology and provide feedback to Toyota to support further development, with the aim of bringing vehicles powered by hydrogen-fuelled internal combustion engines to full commercialisation.”

“CPB Contractors and Toyota Australia share a commitment to reducing emissions and we are pleased to hear the positive results resulting from their trial of the prototype Hydrogen HiAce.”

CPB Contractors reports the hydrogen-fuelled combustion engine technology has similar maintenance and refuelling requirements to that of petrol and diesel-fuelled vehicle models, and it offers a significantly higher level of operational efficiency when compared to electric vehicles, which require charging infrastructure and considerable time to recharge.

“Across the country, CPB Contractors has over 60 major projects in delivery at any one time,” said Husband. “The breadth and depth of our projects creates the perfect environment for innovation, and we are always looking for new technologies and solutions that will reduce our carbon footprint, create efficiencies and support the ESG targets of our projects, our clients and our business.”

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