Japanese C-Stores Join Toyota in Electric Delivery Truck Test

Can EVs deliver cost-efficiency, refuel quickly and handle the loads?

December 10, 2020

AICHI, Japan—Toyota Motor Corp. and three major convenience store operators in Japan will join forces to test fuel-cell electric delivery trucks next year, according to Japan Times.

Fuel-cell vehicles use hydrogen to generate electricity and do not emit carbon dioxide. Toyota’s subsidiary, Hino Motors Ltd., and the three largest Japanese convenience chains—Seven-Eleven Japan, FamilyMart and Lawson—will use the light-duty trucks with a maximum payload of three tons being developed by the automakers.

The companies want to see if light-duty trucks are practical for transporting merchandise and pre-cooked meals between distribution centers and the convenience stores. They also will identify any challenges in cost efficiency to establish the necessary infrastructure.

Efficient delivery trucks have several mandatory requirements: a sufficient cruising range, load capacity and fast refueling. Toyota and Hino are aiming for a cruising range of about 400 kilometers (250 miles) on one tank of hydrogen.

EVs are appealing as a green alternative to conventional gasoline cars, but fuel cell vehicles still face several hurdles, including limited locations where they can refuel. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has said Japan will achieve carbon neutrality, or net-zero carbon emissions, by 2050.