FuelCell – Toyota’s Next-Gen Fuel Cell Truck Hits LA Roads
Toyota is ready to launch its next-generation hydrogen fuel cell truck, which for the time being will run drayage routes in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
Using a modified version of the fuel cell system that powers the all-new 2021 Toyota Mirai, the next-gen Class 8 heavy-duty truck will be capable of traveling 300 miles with a full load weight of 80,000 pounds.
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The truck is currently in the prototype stage but ready for production, and Toyota says the drayage routes in LA and Long Beach will validate its efficiency, performance, and drivability.
“This is an important step in the transition to emissions-free heavy-duty trucks,” said Andrew Lund, chief engineer at Toyota Motor North America Research and Development. “Our first prototype trucks proved that a fuel cell electric powertrain was capable of hauling heavy cargo on a daily basis. These new prototypes not only use production-intent hardware, they will also allow us to start looking beyond drayage into broader applications of this proven technology.”
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Toyota will make 10 examples of the truck, which is based on a Kenworth T680 chassis and Hino cab. Compared to the previous iteration, known as Project Portal, the new fuel cell truck features a more compact hydrogen storage cabinet, which houses six hydrogen tanks and a new, more powerful lithium-ion battery.
Should it be able to run 300 miles under normal drayage operations as Toyota claims, the next-gen fuel cell truck would thus have about 50 percent more range than the first-generation model, a massive improvement.
Toyota is hard at work on developing fuel cell technology, which it believes is the future of the auto industry rather than battery-electric technology. Certainly, hydrogen fuel cell tech is well suited to heavy-duty work and Toyota sees it as key to helping it achieve its Environmental Challenge 2050, which aims to almost completely eliminate CO2 emissions from the company’s operations, supply chains, and vehicles.
Kurt Verlin was born in France and lives in the United States. Throughout his life he was always told French was the language of romance, but it was English he fell in love with. He likes cats, music, cars, 30 Rock, Formula 1, and pretending to be a race car driver in simulators; but most of all, he just likes to write about it all. See more articles by Kurt.