Toyota begins fuel cell truck trials

The motor industry’s biggest global manufacturer has begun a trial looking into the feasibility of using hydrogen fuel cell technology in heavy trucks.

The Toyota ‘Project Portal’ emissions-free concept truck will hit the highways of California, USA, later this summer, operating between the port areas of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

HGVs are said to create a significant amount of emissions output at the port, and the trial is one of a number of measures in its Clean Air Action Plan.

“Toyota believes hydrogen fuel cell technology has tremendous potential to become the powertrain of the future,” said Bob Carter, executive vice president of sales for Toyota Motor North America.

The concept truck is a fully functional tractor and trailer, with the power to transport cargo between the two ports while emitting nothing other than water vapour. It generates more than 670bhp and 1,796Nm of torque from two fuel cell stacks and a 12kWh battery, which Toyota claims is a relatively small battery to support heavy-duty operations.

The Japanese manufacturer says the truck has a gross weight capacity (equivalent to European Gross Vehicle Weight) of 36.2 tonnes, and has a range of around 200 miles between refuels under normal operation.

“By bringing this heavy-duty, zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell proof-of-concept truck to the port, Toyota has planted a flag that we hope many others will follow,” said Mary Nichols, chair at the California Air Resources Board.