Toyota expands hydrogen fuel-cell initiatives
Toyota announced that it will provide its hydrogen fuel-cell technology to Caetanobus SA in Portugal.
In line with its vision of a decarbonized society—as stated in its 2050 environmental challenge—Toyota is promoting the application of its hydrogen fuel-cell technology beyond passenger cars, including heavy duty trucks, small delivery trucks, forklifts, and buses.
In Europe, Toyota will supply its fuel-cell systems, including fuel-cell stacks, hydrogen tanks, and other key components to Caetanobus SA, a Portuguese bus engineering and production company, to build its first hydrogen fuel-cell city buses. The first zero emission fuel-cell city buses will roll off the lines of Caetanobus SA in autumn 2019 and are to be operated as demonstration buses by Caetanobus SA.
"Supplying our fuel-cell systems to Caetanobus demonstrates the many practical uses and environmental benefits of hydrogen towards a carbon-free society. We're really excited by the prospect of seeing the first buses of our longstanding automotive partner in European cities," said Dr Johan van Zyl, president and CEO, Toyota Motor Europe. "Hydrogen buses have significant advantages compared to other zero emission buses, such as superior driving range and short refueling time. These benefits allow hydrogen buses to be operated on longer routes and a higher utilization."
Jose Ramos, president of Salvador Caetano Industria holding, commented, "We are very proud to be the first company in Europe to benefit from Toyota's leading fuel-cell technology and look forward to confirming our world-class bus development and manufacturing capabilities. We are convinced that hydrogen is a great solution for zero emission buses."
In another announcement, Toyota and East Japan Railway Company (JR East) signed a basic agreement for a comprehensive business partnership centered on a hydrogen-based mobility partnership between railways and automobiles. The agreement is rooted in Toyota and JR East's desire to link railways and automobiles (two key means of land transport), fuse management resources, and accelerate the shift toward a low-carbon society by promoting initiatives that make use of hydrogen.
The two companies wish to combine their respective strengths, and are engaged in discussions centered on a wide range of fields surrounding hydrogen use. These include establishing hydrogen stations on land owned by JR East, introducing FCEVs and FC Buses as a means of local transport, and applying FC technologies in railway carriages.
Toyota and JR East are also keen to ensure any tie-up between the two companies will lead to initiatives that are fully integrated into local communities. To this end, the two companies intend to request the cooperation of local governments, businesses, residents, and other stakeholders. In this way, they aim to construct a hydrogen supply chain that contributes to both regional growth and development.
In another recent fuel-cell initiative, this July Toyota unveiled the second iteration of its hydrogen fuel-cell electric Class 8 truck. The 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 mi (483 km) per fill. The truck also enhances versatility and maneuverability 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 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 this fall, increasing the Ports' zero emission trucking capacity and further reducing the environmental impact of drayage operations.
Toyota and Seven-Eleven Japan Co. in June announced details of a joint project to reduce CO2 emissions. The two companies had established a basic agreement in August 2017 regarding considerations toward energy conservation and carbon dioxide emission reduction in store distribution and operation. Toyota has been investigating the use of newly developed fuel-cell trucks and fuel-cell generators, and the project will be implemented in stages starting in 2019.
In March, Toyota accelerated the use of hydrogen at its plants by deploying 20 fuel-cell forklifts at its Motomachi Plant, bringing the number of fuel-cell forklifts at the plant to 22, and introducing of a dedicated on-site hydrogen station.
Also in March, Toyota launched the production model of its Sora fuel-cell bus. Toyota expects to introduce over 100 fuel-cell buses, mainly within the Tokyo metropolitan area, ahead of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.
In late 2014, Toyota introduced its fuel-cell system that features fuel-cell technology and hybrid technology and includes its FC Stack and high-pressure hydrogen tanks with the launch of its Mirai fuel-cell sedan.