Japanese automaker Toyota is serious about perfecting hydrogen fuel cell technology to power its vehicles, and it’s scheduled an initial feasibility study operations for its zero-emissions heavy-duty truck a little over a week from today. A concept version of a truck running Toyota’s specialized hydrogen fuel cell system designed for heavy-hauling use will be moving goods from select terminals at the Port of LA and Long Beach to nearby warehouses and rail yards beginning on October 23.
“If you see a big-rig driving around the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach that seems oddly quiet and quick, do not be alarmed! It’s just the future,” Toyota wrote in a press release. The company expects the daily runs to cover some 322 kilometers (200 miles) to test the fuel cell system’s duty-cycle capabilities. Afterwards, longer trips could be introduced.
According to Toyota, this zero-emissions heavy-duty proof-of-concept truck has already covered roughly 6,437 kilometers (4,000 miles) in development tests, where it pulled a progressive weight of cargo — 36,287 kilograms (80,000 pounds) tops — while only emitting water vapor. It packs a 670 horsepower, with 1,325 pound-feet of torque, from two Mirai fuel cell stacks combined with a 12kWh battery.
“Toyota has led the way in expanding the understanding and adoption of fuel cell technology,” Bob Carter, executive vice-president for Toyota’s North America operations, said in the press release. “From the introduction of the Mirai passenger vehicle to the creation of the heavy-duty fuel cell system in Project Portal, Toyota continues to demonstrate the versatility and scalability of the zero-emission fuel cell powertrain.”
Following behind Toyota is Japanese car maker Honda, which also has plans for a hydrogen-powered car, as well as EVs and hybrids. Mercedes-Benz is also getting in on the hydrogen fuel scene. In short, more and more car makers are seeing the value of zero-emission vehicles — be it hydrogen-powered or the more popular battery-powered electric cars. They’re paving the way to fossil-fuel-free roads.