Environment & Research, Trucks & Utes

Hydrogen HiAce put to the test on construction site

A trial transporting personnel on CPB Contractors construction sites has proven the applicability of hydrogen powered vehicles

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

The month-long trial involved the ultra-low CO2 tailpipe emission vehicle replacing one of CPB Contractors’ diesel-fuelled Toyota vans. Used to ferry workers from various sites on two major infrastructure projects in Melbourne, the Hydrogen HiAce was refuelled at Toyota’s own hydrogen refuelling centre at its Centre of Excellence in Altona over four weeks.

CPB Contractors’ plant asset team and the drivers who utilised the vehicle reported a positive driving experience, saying that the Hydrogen HiAce drives like a normal bus, with no limitations to speed control or braking. CPB Contractors says that, with the right supply and distribution of hydrogen, it sees hydrogen-powered vehicles as a viable option in future.

“CPB Contractors has a long history working with Toyota, and we have shared commitments to continually improve efficiency, performance and safety,” CPB Contractors engineering director Benita Husband.

“Their team is aware of our desire to be involved in the early trialling 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.

“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.”

CPB Contractors says that the hydrogen-fuelled combustion engine technology has similar maintenance and refuelling requirements to that of petrol and diesel-fuelled vehicle models.

Toyota says the hydrogen technology offers a significantly higher level of operational efficiency when compared to electric vehicles, which require charging infrastructure and considerable time to recharge.

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