Years after hinting at its intention to build a fuel cell-powered semi, Toyota has now officially announced that it would develop a hydrogen fuel-cell powered semi-truck in the United States. Ahead of this announcement, the company had shown off Project Portal in 2017. Later in 2018, the company showed its dedication to hydrogen fuel cell technology through Project Portal 2.0. The Japanese automaker said that it will produce Class 8 trucks. The company has partnered with Hino to make this semi-truck whose design will be based on the former’s XL series tractor. The XL series tractor was introduced recently and uses a zero-emission power terrain. The Japanese car manufacturer has been testing this since 2017 by hauling freight between Long Beach ports and Los Angeles.
Japanese commercial vehicle manufacturer Hino will give the semi chassis and Toyota will use its fuel cell powertrain to develop the semi-truck. The final result will be a semi-truck with zero-emissions. The specs of this semi-truck will make the vehicle competitive in the North American region. The exact specifications of the semi-truck are not clear yet, but a preview is likely to be available on Project Portal 2.0. The prototype semi has 1,325 pound-feet of torque and 670-plus horsepower and could handle 80,000 pounds. So far, a 12-kilowatt-hour battery and the two hydrogen fuel stacks helped the vehicle go 300 miles. Hino already said they would partner for a truck for Japan, but both the vehicles won’t be identical.
Both companies are planning to showcase a demonstration vehicle in the first half of the next year. Toyota has a very long history of fuel cells. It has made the announcement at a time when Nikola is facing wrath for not having a proprietary technology. Nikola has found itself in hot water ever since its founder left the company. Founder Trevor Milton was accused of fraud and sexual assault. Hino said that the expansion will provide our customers with commercially viable and zero-emission vehicles in the near future. Toyota is also planning to introduce a smaller cell truck. The company has not shared its detailed operational plan yet. It is expected to start testing in early 2021.