Toyota has announced a “great leap towards the future of zero-emission trucking”, unveiling the second iteration of its hydrogen fuel cell electric Class 8 truck.
The announcement was made before a crowd of media and industry leaders during the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) Management Briefing Seminars in Northern Michigan.
Its new truck, known internally as "Beta," expands on the capabilities of Toyota’s first Project Portal test vehicle by increasing the estimated range to more than 300 miles per fill.
The truck also enhances versatility and manoeuvrability with the addition of a sleeper cab and a unique fuel cabinet combination that further increases cab space without increasing wheelbase.
Since it first began operation in April 2017, the 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 while emitting nothing but water vapor.
The Beta vehicle will begin drayage operations in the fall, increasing the Ports’ zero emission trucking capacity and further reducing the environmental impact of drayage operations.
“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 Andrew Lund, chief engineer for the project.
“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.”
Over 16,000 pollution-emitting trucks are working in Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, a number that is estimated to balloon to 32,000 by 2030.
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 neighbourhoods.
“Our goal with the first truck was to see if it could be accomplished, and we did that,” said senior manager for Toyota’s North American Electrified Vehicle & Technologies Office, Craig Scott.
“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.”