Toyota Unveils its Next Generation Hydrogen Fuel Cell Truck

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【Summary】Toyota reinforced its commitment to hydrogen fuel cell technology with the unveiling of its next generation Project Portal 2.0 Class 8 hydrogen-powered truck at a press event today in Michigan.

Eric Walz    Sep 06, 2018 11:11 AM PT
Toyota Unveils its Next Generation Hydrogen Fuel Cell Truck

Toyota reinforced its commitment to hydrogen fuel cell technology with the unveiling of its next generation Project Portal 2.0 Class 8 hydrogen-powered truck at a press event today in Michigan.

The new truck, known internally as "Beta," expands on the capabilities of Toyota's first Project Portal test vehicle by increasing the estimated range from 200 miles to 300 miles per fill-up. The Chief engineer Andrew Lund called the Project Portal 2.0 the "next step as we expand our hydrogen footprint yet again."

Toyota added some features to make long-haul deliveries a bit easier. Among the improvements is the addition of a sleeper cab and a unique fuel cabinet combination that further increases interior cab space without increasing wheelbase.

Since it first began operation in April 2017, Toyota's first generation Project Portal "Alpha" truck has logged nearly 10,000 miles of testing and real-world drayage operations in and around the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. The new Beta vehicle will begin short distance deliveries this fall, increasing the Ports' zero emission trucking capacity and further reducing the environmental impact of drayage operations.

To speed up development, Toyota engineers configured the hydrogen fuel cell components sourced from two of its Mirai fuel-cell cars to power the heavy truck. In addition, the engineers reconfigured the wiring harnesses, electronics and other components, resulting in one of the world's first OEM-built zero-emission heavy trucks, according to Toyota.

The truck has a gross combined weight capacity of 80,000 lbs and a driving range of more than 200 miles per fill. The hydrogen fuel cell powertrain delivers 670-plus horsepower with 1325 pound-feet of torque from just two Mirai fuel cell stacks and a 12kWh battery. Project Portal Beta maintains these torque and horsepower numbers while also extending the range of the vehicle and pushing forward on other key performance metrics.

"By evaluating the first truck in our test facilities and on the actual roads in the LA area, we made a list of improvements for the Beta truck build process and performance enhancements," said Lund, chief engineer for the project. He continued, "We needed to move beyond a proof of concept, which the first truck accomplished, to something that is not only better than the original but is also more commercially viable."

Reducing Air Pollution

Going forward, Toyota remains committed to supporting the development of a consumer-facing hydrogen infrastructure to realize the potential of fuel cell vehicles. Toyota is also committed to reducing air pollution from 16,000 diesel trucks that are operating near the busy ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. That number of trucks is projected to double by 2030.

According to Toyota, more than 43,000 drayage trucks are in operation at ports across the United States, contributing significant amounts of carcinogens, diesel particulate matter (DPM) and other pollutants into the air of port communities and surrounding neighborhoods.

"Our goal with the first truck was to see if it could be accomplished, and we did that," said Craig Scott, senior manager for Toyota's North American Electrified Vehicle & Technologies Office, in a release. "This time we're looking at commercial viability. We want to help make a difference—a significant difference when it comes to the air quality not only in the LA area, but across the U.S. and around the globe."

This announcement is a continuation of Toyota's Environmental Challenge 2050 efforts to eliminate CO2 emissions from its Toyota Logistics facility at the Port of Long Beach.

Toyota has previously announced the construction of the Tri-Gen facility which will be the first megawatt-sized carbonate fuel cell power generation plant with hydrogen fueling in the world. The 100% renewable plant will use agricultural waste to generate water, electricity, and hydrogen that will support Toyota Logistics Services' (TLS) operations at the Port of Long Beach.

Toyota is not the only company exploring hydrogen fuel-cell technology for Class 8 trucks. Delivery giant UPS is testing fuel cell trucks in Sacramento, California.

Salt Lake City-based  Nikola Motor Co. switched its focus from fully electric trucks to hydrogen fuel cell trucks. Last year, the company announced it is beginning to build its Nikola One, a hydrogen fuel cell semi-truck that delivers 1,000 hp and 2,000 lbs.-ft. of torque with a planned range of 800 miles or more between fill-ups.

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