Toyota borrows e-Proace MAX from Stellantis, shows HiAce on hydrogen

Toyota has expanded its European commercial vehicle line-up with the Proace MAX, a derivative from Stellantis’ Fiat Ducato/Peugeot Boxer/Citroën Jumper/Opel Movano quartet.

It features six body configurations and up to 420 all-electric range. On the other side of the world, the Japanese manufacturer has revealed a HiAce passenger van with a hydrogen combustion engine.

In 2022, Stellantis and Toyota announced that their commercial vehicle partnership would extend to a larger electric van above the Proace and Proace City models. As it turns out, this ‘new’ Proace MAX is another variant of Stellantis’ existing large van platform, which was heavily updated in October.

The Toyota Proace MAX features up to 17 m³ of cargo space and a 420 km all-electric WLTP range /Toyota

Up to 420 km electric range

The new Toyota Proace MAX – not to be confused with an iPhone – takes on the same electric versions of its counterparts, with a 200 kW (272 hp) electric motor and up to 110 kWh of battery power, giving the large electric van a WLTP range of up to 420 km.

Six body configurations are available, with two wheelbases, three lengths and three heights, and a cargo capacity of up to 17 m³. New digital displays with built-in navigation and wireless Android Auto/Apple CarPlay connectivity are present on the inside.

The other Toyota Proace models have received the same updates as the rest of the Stellantis range, including a new nose and interior /Toyota

Other Proace models and Hilux also renewed

The rest of the Proace family has also been updated with a modernized front fascia, the same interior upgrades, and efficiency improvements, giving them up to 330 km (Proace City Electric) or 350 km (Proace Electric) of all-electric range.

Speaking of electrification, the Hilux has also been given a battery to improve fuel economy. In this case, however, it’s just a mild hybrid system running on 48 volts, which supports the combustion engine and improves throttle response. The Hilux Hybrid 48 V keeps its 3 500 kg towing capacity and 1 000 kg payload.

The Toyota Hydrogen HiAce Prototype features a 3.4-liter V6, and the Mirai’s hydrogen tanks / Toyota

Hydrogen HiAce

On the other side of the world, Toyota has unveiled a HiAce passenger van with a hydrogen combustion engine on board. Thus far, Toyota has only used its 1.6-liter three-cylinder engine in cars such as the GR Yaris and Corolla Cross to run on hydrogen, but for the HiAce, a 3.4-liter twin-turbo V6 from the Land Cruiser 300 was used.

In contrast to the 1.6-liter hydrogen engine, however, the V6 is massively down on power: 120 kW (163 hp) compared to the gas-powered engine’s 305 kW (415 hp). The Mirai’s hydrogen tanks, with a capacity of 5,6 kg, were used, giving the Hydrogen HiAce a range of just 200 km, compared to the fuel cell-powered Mirai’s 650 km.

Toyota considers hydrogen more viable for vehicles that need to tow or carry heavy loads and are, therefore, less suitable for battery-electric drivetrains /Toyota

Toyota will roll out the Hydrogen HiAce prototypes to customers for further testing, with other larger vehicles possibly getting the same treatment. A Toyota representative spoke of possibly fitting a hydrogen engine in a Land Cruiser, which needs to tow and carry heavy loads and, therefore, suffers more from a battery-electric drivetrain. There are no promises on that yet, though.

Toyota has stated it would shift its hydrogen strategy toward commercial vehicles rather than passenger vehicles such as the Mirai, which was unsuccessful due to the lack of infrastructure.


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