Isuzu and Honda have signed an agreement to work together on hydrogen vehicles, but utes are not on the to-do list.
- shares

Don’t hold your breath for a ute that only emits water vapour from its tailpipe.

Isuzu says it has no plans to adopt hydrogen power for its next generation D-Max ute, even though the company has just signed an agreement with Honda to share the technology.

Last week Isuzu announced it has done a deal to draw on Honda’s expertise in hydrogen gathered over 30 years.

The statement said in part: “The automobile industry is facing demand to reduce exhaust gas and carbon emissions from mobility products in order to address the on-going global challenge of reducing humanity's environmental footprint.

“To that end, Isuzu has been researching and developing various powertrains including clean diesel engine, engines for natural gas vehicles and electric vehicle powertrains, which accommodate a broad range of customer needs.”

The Isuzu statement continued: “Sharing the same technological research goals, the two companies reached an agreement to conduct joint research on heavy-duty (hydrogen-powered) trucks.”

Conspicuously absent from the statement, however, was any mention of plans for a hydrogen-powered Isuzu D-Max.

Isuzu Ute Australia offered a "no comment" when asked about the possibility of hydrogen power for the future D-Max, however CarAdvice understands the joint venture with Honda is in fact restricted to heavy trucks for the time being.

"We are not in a position to comment on future models," said a prepared statement from Isuzu Ute Australia after this story was published. "We will of course continue to monitor the Australian market and, where possible, meet that demand."

Instead, as reported in October 2019, Isuzu Ute will soldier on with an updated version of the trusted 3.0-litre turbo diesel that has powered the D-Max pick-up and MU-X SUV over the past decade.

The new-generation Isuzu D-Max is due in Australian showrooms in the second half of this year, although the local distributor is yet to confirm exact timing.

While the Isuzu D-Max is sticking with old-school diesel power, Toyota, Mitsubishi and Nissan are working on hybrid power for their future utes, though they are still at least three to five years away from local showrooms.

In North America, the technology focus has skipped past hybrid power: the big American car brands are trying to go fully electric to compete with the Tesla Cybertruck.