Toyota unveils the second iteration of its heavy fuel-cell truck
Toyota unveiled the second iteration of its hydrogen fuel-cell electric Class 8 truck. Known internally as "Beta," Toyota says the truck expands on the capabilities of its first Project Portal test vehicle by increasing the estimated range to more than 300 mi (483 km) per fill. This version was also designed to enhance versatility and maneuverability with the addition of a sleeper cab and a unique fuel cabinet combination that increases cab space without increasing wheelbase.
View a time lapse of the build for the fuel cell heavy truck.
Since it first began operation in April 2017, the Project Portal "Alpha" truck has reportedly logged nearly 10,000 mi (16,000 km) of testing and real-world drayage operations in and around the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. The Beta vehicle will begin drayage operations in the fall.
Toyota says Project Portal 2.0 builds on the lessons learned from the launch of the Alpha vehicle in 2017. The first heavy-duty truck was the result of a skunkworks effort within Toyota that moved from initial concept to a fully capable drayage truck in a little more than a year. Engineers and technicians worked to reconfigure the wire harnesses, electronics, and other components of two off-the-lot Mirai fuel-cell electric cars to create one of the world's first OEM-built zero-emission heavy trucks.
With a gross combined weight capacity of 80,000 lb (36,287 kg) and a driving range of more than 200 mi (322 km) per fill, the 670+ hp (500 kW) Alpha truck produces 1325 lb·ft (1796 N·m) of torque from two Mirai fuel cell stacks and a 12 kW·h battery. Project Portal Beta maintains these torque and horsepower numbers while 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 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."
The company says that more than 16,000 pollution-emitting trucks are working in the 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 neighborhoods.
"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."
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.