Toyota is Developing a Hydrogen-Powered Fuel Cell Truck With its Hino Motors Unit
Toyota Motor Corp and its subsidiary Hino Motors, Ltd. (Hino) have announced the joint development of a new heavy-duty fuel cell truck powered by hydrogen. In addition to the development of a fuel cell truck, the two partners will also study the practical use of fuel cell trucks in the shipping industry.
The plans to develop fuel cell trucks is part of Toyota's commitment to reducing emissions worldwide. Both Toyota and Hino have ambitious goals to reduce CO2 emissions by 2050 and are developing various electric vehicle technologies for widespread use.
The heavy-duty fuel cell truck will be based on Hino Profia, and will combine the technologies Toyota and Hino have developed over the years.
The diesel-powered Profia was first introduced in 2003.
The truck's powertrain includes two Toyota fuel cell stacks (Toyota FC Stack) that was developed for Toyota's hydrogen-powered Mirai, and heavy-duty hybrid vehicle technologies developed by Hino.
Fuel cell trucks use a hydrogen-powered fuel cell to generate enough electricity to power the truck's electric motors, in the same way a lithium ion battery provides power in an electric vehicle. The fuel cell's only byproduct is water, so fuel-cell trucks are 100% zero emissions. Refilling the hydrogen takes about 15 minutes at a hydrogen refueling station.
One of the most challenging problems for truck makers is extending the range of fuel cell vehicles. In addition, there is very little infrastructure in place, such as hydrogen filling stations, to support the widespread commercial rollout of fuel cell trucks.
Tyotoa and Hino plan to experiment with various fuel cell powertrains to ensure both the correct mix of performance and practicality as a commercial vehicle such as range and load capacity.
For example, the chassis of the truck is specially designed for a fuel cell vehicle and the truck uses various weight reduction strategies so it can carry heavier loads.
Currently, heavy-duty diesel-powered trucks are typically used for long-haul freight deliveries over highways. However, fuel cell vehicles that run on hydrogen with a higher energy density that batteries are considered to be a more viable long term option than trucks that run on batteries, according to Toyota.
Toyota and Hino are working towards a cruising range target of around 600 km (372 miles), in order for the hydrogen-powered trucks to be viable for commercial freight applications.
There has been growing interest in the use of hydrogen-powered trucks in the shipping industry and there are benefits for using hydrogen over battery-powered trucks. For one, large and heavy batteries are needed for fully-electric trucks, which reduces the overall load carrying capacity. In addition, lithium-ion batteries do not perform as well in colder climates where diesel trucks frequently operate, which reduces their range.
In order to meet Toyota's emission reduction goals, major improvements in fuel cell technology will be required to equal the performance of diesel and gas-powered heavy-duty trucks, which account for about 60 percent of the total CO2 emissions from commercial vehicles in Japan, according to Toyota.
That solution just might be switching to hydrogen-powered, fuel cell trucks.
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