Lest there be any doubt that JCB is throwing its weight behind hydrogen technology, the company has just taken delivery of the latest Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell car. 

JCB’s purchase comes as the company invests £100 million in the development of super-efficient hydrogen engines to power its equipment. The wraps have already come off two prototype hydrogen powered machines - a backhoe and a Loadall telescopic handler, which were on show at COP26 in Glasgow recently.

The hydrogen-powered motor is in fact the second Toyota Mirai bought by JCB, following the purchase of a first-generation model in 2015. It was handed to JCB Chairman Lord Bamford by President and Managing Director of Toyota (GB), Agustin Martin - seen here on the left.

Lord Bamford said: “We applaud Toyota for its consistency in exploring the potential of hydrogen as an alternative to fossil fuels in cars. Indeed, just in the past few months, Mr Akio Toyoda, President of Toyota Motor Corporation, has been testing a Toyota car powered by a hydrogen combustion engine, the same technology that JCB is pioneering for its own machinery. Having a hydrogen fuel cell car in our fleet makes perfect sense as we pursue hydrogen as a fuel of the future.”

And Agustin Martin added: “Since 1992, Toyota has produced more than five million cars at its Burnaston plant and our Midlands neighbours at JCB have an even longer history of providing employment, investment and innovation in the region.  JCB’s research and development into hydrogen engines marks a significant and forward-thinking shift in the construction and agriculture worlds.  It’s exciting to see another industry taking the steps towards decarbonising society through the application of hydrogen technology.”

The new Toyota Mirai offers a 30% greater driving range and a price tag almost 25 per cent lower than its predecessor. The increased efficiency of its fuel cell system, coupled with a 1kg increase in hydrogen capacity, gives the car a range of approximately 400 miles – an increase of 100 miles compared to the first generation model. 

Fuelled by hydrogen, it can be refilled in a matter of minutes. It emits only pure water and, through the use of a new electrostatic filter, removes almost 100 per cent of particulate matter from the air, up to 2.5 microns in diameter, as it drives.