7-11 has contract Toyota to develop an exclusive line of hydrogen fuel cell powered delivery trucks. The move is part of a larger effort by 7-11 to reduce its carbon emissions in Japan and promote more environmentally friendly vehicles, in general.
The delivery trucks, themselves, will be built by Toyota’s Hino Motors unit. They will be exclusive to 7-11 (in the beginning, at least) and will be unique to the convenience store at the time of launch. The trucks will ferry goods to 7-11 locations from its delivery centers, with foll scale deployment and testing set to start sometime in 2019.
I know that (despite some positive news, of late) hydrogen has its detractors among Gas 2 readers, and some of you may think this all sounds like a low volume gimmick to generate some PR. Think again. 7-11 has more than 20,000 location in Japan alone, and those are serviced by more than 5,800 delivery trucks. At the moment, hybrids and other alt-fuel solutions make up about 15% of that fleet, but 7-11 has plans to increase that figure to at least 20% by 2020. If those end up being tailor-made for the company by Toyota, that will put almost twelve hundred new hydrogen fuel cell vehicles on the road.
Granted, even two thousand hydrogen fuel cell vehicles wouldn’t exactly make a landslide, but it’s a good percentage over what’s out there now. Add these delivery trucks in with Toyota’s expanding line of hydrogen powered commercial vehicles and Japan’s commitment to building up that infrastructure using existing gas stations, too, and you might have the makings of a really viable alternative fuel.
Let us know if you think Toyota and 7-11 are on the right path towards reducing emissions and promoting green vehicle technology in the comments section, below.
Source | Images: Nikkei Asian Review.