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Toyota announces Kenworth-based hydrogen truck

Project Portal is Japanese firm's plan for zero-emission freight transport


Following last week’s news that Tesla has an electric semi set for September, Toyota has joined the low-emission truck race with a Kenworth-based offering.

Unlike Tesla’s electric approach, Toyota has opted for hydrogen fuel cell technology; something the automaker is familiar with following the development of its Mirai passenger car.

Toyota has scaled-up its proprietary fuel-cell technology from the Mirai to develop an emission-free power source for a 36-tonne truck.

Dubbed ‘Project Portal’, Toyota plans to use the concept truck to conduct a feasibility study into the potential of fuel-cell technology in heavy-duty applications.

The hydrogen-fuelled truck is set to move loads between the ports of Los Angeles and nearby Long Beach later this year.

According to Toyota, the truck generates more than 670hp (500kW) and nearly 1800Nm from two Mirai fuel-cell stacks and a 12kW battery.

The concept’s gross combined weight capacity is more than 36.2 tonnes and it boasts an estimated range of 320km per fill, under normal drayage operation.

While the range seems lacking for road transport use, this truck generates zero tailpipe emissions and Toyota last year highlighted plans for mobile hydrogen refuellers, making regular fuel-ups possible.

Toyota Motor North America executive vice president Bob Carter says the brand believes hydrogen fuel-cell technology has tremendous potential, which also includes fuel-cell buses in Japan.

“Toyota is a leader in expanding the use of versatile and scalable zero-emission technology,” Carter says.

“With Project Portal, we’re proud to help explore the societal benefits of a true zero-emission heavy-duty truck platform.”

Port officials and representatives from California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the California Energy Commission (CEC) have backed Toyota’s Project Portal.

CARB chair Mary D. Nichols likens Project Portal to the automaker’s previous technology leaps: the Prius and Mirai.

“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,” Nichols says.

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