No Hydrogen? No Problem! Hydrogen Road Service Vehicle Unveiled--Round 5 Motegi


Following the FCEV garbage truck unveiled at Super Taikyu Round 4 in July, the season's fifth race featured an FCEV road service vehicle. As new trials continue to kick off, what is behind these efforts to create a hydrogen society?

Handling a wide range of road services

As it turns out, the hydrogen road service vehicle was completed just two days before the race. JAF Road Service Division General Manager Koso Takeda outlined his company’s focus.

General Manager Koso Takeda, JAF Road Service Division

When we were first approached, the project only entailed the hydrogen module. However, from the perspective of JAF’s operations, we informed Toyota that running out of fuel was a relatively rare problem, while the most common issues are tire-related.

From there, the conversation turned to creating an all-in-one vehicle with the equipment to carry out JAF tasks. Before the day was out, people from Toyota visited our offices to measure sizes, and proceeded to build it.

The JAF fleet has van-type service vehicles, which cannot tow and are intended for light jobs such as battery failures or key lock-ins. They carry various items for these tasks, such as air tanks, gasoline, and diesel fuel cans.

However, I feel the vehicle’s current size will present challenges in servicing passenger cars, and we will gradually have to make it smaller.

A hydrogen society won’t be made through vehicles alone

Ota, CV Company

For now, these are concept cars. This year, we’ve displayed light- and heavy-duty trucks and a garbage truck at Autopolis, but a hydrogen society won’t materialize simply by producing vehicles.

Like the Fukushima project, we need to make hydrogen-powered vehicles that serve as model cases, then listen to drivers’ concerns and work together to figure out what kind of environment could encourage more widespread use of such cars.

In terms of both producing vehicles and promoting hydrogen use, we are at the stage of getting into the genba and making step-by-step improvements, as is the Toyota way. I want to figure out how to support this from the bottom up, to refine the cars and bring hydrogen into the wider world.

Parked beside the road service vehicle was a domestic spec Crown sSedan, also on display for the first time, which was used to demonstrate hydrogen refueling.

Each Super Taikyu race brings new additions to the vehicles that will sustain a hydrogen society.

Despite being a prototype, the road service vehicle has already obtained license plate registration, and Ota claims confidently that “we could roll these out tomorrow.” Such persistent efforts to tackle individual challenges steadily contribute to the realization of a hydrogen society.