Toyota has been experimenting with fuel cell semis for years as part of Project Portal.
Now they’re inching closer to production as the company has announced plans to jointly develop a “heavy-duty fuel cell truck” with Hino.
The model will be based on the Hino Profia and equipped with two Toyota-sourced fuel cell stacks. Toyota didn’t go into specifics, but confirmed the fuel cells are the same ones that will be used in the 2021 Mirai.
Besides the Toyota-sourced fuel cells, the truck will be equipped with an electric motor, a lithium-ion battery pack and a “large capacity” hydrogen storage tank. This setup will give the model a range of approximately 373 miles (600 km) per tank.
Little else is known about the truck at this point, but Toyota said it will have a specially designed chassis that provides “optimum packaging” for the fuel cells and related components. The model will also go on a diet as there will be a “comprehensive weight reduction to ensure a sufficient load capacity.”
While Tesla is betting on electric semis, Toyota said “Heavy-duty trucks are typically used for highway transportation; therefore, they are required to have sufficient cruising range and load capacity as well as fast refueling capability.” The latter is an issue with electric semis, but fuel cell semis have problems of their own including a relatively limited hydrogen refueling infrastructure.
Regardless, Toyota said the electrification of commercial vehicles is important as fuel cell trucks can play a crucial role in reducing CO2 emissions. In particular, the company noted heavy-duty trucks account for approximately 60 percent of the total CO2 emissions from commercial vehicles in Japan.
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