Japan’s Toyota Motor plans to build a fleet of small electric commercial vans and light trucks powered by batteries and fuel cells.
The Japanese giant said on Tuesday that it would partner with Daihatsu and Suzuki to develop smaller electric vans, aiming to begin production next year.
The models will be developed for a project to promote the widespread use of electrified vehicles and eventually for the mass market, Toyota said.
The project, due to begin from January 2023, will see the vehicles being used to transport goods between Tokyo and Fukushima prefecture.
These “mini vehicles“, which have had a petrol engine displacement of up to 600cc, are a segment largely specific to Japan.
They account for about 60% of the country’s entire commercial fleet and cover many areas only accessible to them because of their small size.
Toyota will work with Isuzu Motors and Hino Motors to develop light-duty fuel cell trucks.
About 580 vehicles will be built for use in the project.
- Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell