Automotive

Toyota unveils latest heavy-duty electric fuel-cell truck to haul cargo around LA

Toyota unveils latest heavy-du...
The 2019 Portal Project FCET is based on the earlier Alpha and Beta trucks
The 2019 Portal Project FCET is based on the earlier Alpha and Beta trucks
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The 2019 Portal Project FCET is based on the earlier Alpha and Beta trucks
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The 2019 Portal Project FCET is based on the earlier Alpha and Beta trucks
The FCET burns hydrogen gas in a fuel cell
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The FCET burns hydrogen gas in a fuel cell
Ten of the new FCET trucks will be deployed this year
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Ten of the new FCET trucks will be deployed this year

The latest version of Toyota's zero-emissions fuel-cell powered tractor truck was unveiled today in Los Angeles. Developed as part of a joint project with the Kenworth Truck Company, the Port of Los Angeles, and the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the Fuel Cell Electric heavy-duty Truck (FCET) that runs on hydrogen and produces only water as waste is intended to meet or exceed the performance of a conventional diesel truck.

The FCET builds on Toyota's first two Project Portal Proof of Concept prototype trucks that have been under development since 2017. According to company, the latest iteration will have enhanced capabilities, packaging, and performance, with an estimated range of 300 mi (480 km) that is claimed to be twice the average truck's daily work mileage.

Ten of the advanced trucks will be built as part of the Zero-and-Near-Zero Emission Freight Facilities Project (ZANZEFF), which is being funded in part by a US$41 million award by CARB to the Port of Los Angeles. Beginning later this year, the fleet will be used to haul goods landing in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to destinations across the Los Angeles basin.

The FCET burns hydrogen gas in a fuel cell
The FCET burns hydrogen gas in a fuel cell

Like the previous Alpha and Beta prototypes, the FCET is derived from the Kenworth T680 Class 8 model with the engine swapped out for Toyota's fuel cell technology. In previous tests, the first two trucks logged over 14,000 mi (22,500 km) in and around the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The goal is to develop a Shore-to-Store hydrogen infrastructure to move goods in the area, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 500 tons and 0.72 tons of other emissions.

The new fleet will be operated by Toyota Logistics Services, United Parcel Services, Total Transportation Services, and Southern Counties Express. In addition, two new large-capacity heavy-duty hydrogen fueling stations are under development by Shell in Wilmington and Ontario, California, bringing the number of stations in the Los Angeles basin to five.

"Toyota is committed to fuel cell electric technology as a powertrain for the future because it's a clean, scalable platform that can meet a broad range of mobility needs with zero emissions," says Bob Carter, Executive Vice President for Automotive Operations Toyota. "The ZANZEFF collaboration and the innovative Shore-to-Store project allow us to move Heavy-Duty Truck Fuel Cell Electric technology towards commercialization."

Source: Toyota

9 comments
Mr T
Except that fuel cells are not clean. Nearly all the hydrogen currently produced comes from cracking fossil fuels, and running a fuel cell vehicle on fossil fuel derived hydrogen actually produces more emissions than using fossil fuels directly. The only way to make fuel cells cleaner is to use renewable electricity to electrolyse water into hydrogen and oxygen, but even then, the fuel cell cycle is so inefficient (from water to hydrogen, multiple stages of compression, back to water after use in the fuel cell) that it uses 2-3 times the electricity than a pure battery vehicle would if it were using that renewable electricity directly. Put simply, fuel cells either produce high emissions using fossil derived hydrogen, or waste huge amounts of renewable electricity if using renewable derived hydrogen. Fuel cell vehicles are just pointless, and they divert funding from battery development.
VincentWolf
I agree completely 100% with Mr T. Toyota just continues it's madness and I hope they go bankrupt. They are just trying to keep America hooked on pricey FCEVs that costs like dickens to replace the fuel cell's and to use fossil fuels to fuel the future. No thanks. No place in America for FCEVs.
fb36
Sure! Let's fill the world w/ moving bomb trucks!!! A free crater on the road, for each time, one of their hydrogen gas tanks explodes (due to traffic accident or leakage)!!!
Nobody
I am waiting for the spectacular fires and explosions that hydrogen and high capacity electric battery powered vehicles cause. Then the reality will sink in that gasoline and diesel are much safer by comparison. Self driving cars and planes sound wonderful but computer bugs, viruses, and hackers will turn these dreams into a nightmares as well.
Grunchy
Thunderf00t had a good video demonstrating how you can "safely" have a hydrogen fuel cell fire (rather than explosion), the problem is you wind up with a 20' blow torch about 2' diameter coming out the back of the car. Incidentally this is in his video about why Tesla batteries suck so bad: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3K43XC9J82Q (the upshot is that none of these alternatives to gasoline are any good. And let alone when ISIS finally succeeds in hacking into Tesla self-driving cars, and sets up thousands of remote drivers to simultaneously start mowing down Americans everywhere across America all at once.)
VincentWolf
Nobody: bad logic. BEV's are proven to be over 50 times safer for fires--over 10,000 gasoline fires every year in just the USA and over 1,000,000 globally. With 488 deaths in 2017, 511 in 2018. Horrible burns caused by explosive gasoline and diesel fueled vehicles. Not a single death attributed to BEV's since 2011 when first Tesla came out. Statistically proven to be 50 times safer and with the advent of solid state batteries and other lithium chemistries coming out soon the batteries are inflammable.
Expanded Viewpoint
VW, from where did you get those stats? EVs are a total joke, but I'm not laughing, except at the utter stupidity of the ones who delude themselves into thinking that electric(in reality coal powered) cars and trucks are a good thing. How much petroleum or coal needs to be burned to make just one Lithium battery pack? Just how much government subsidies does Tesla Motor Cars get to bring the cost of their cars down to where somebody can buy one? How is that car economically viable without government aid? The car and truck makers KNOW that all of this is one gigantic boondoggle, but it's not politically correct to speak up and say the truth, so they just go along with the dumbed down masses and make all kinds of platitudes to them to make them feel good about themselves, like they're really and truly doing a good thing "for the planet". Barf. Randy
amicu
I'm amaze every time I see battery supporters considering that are cleaner or more efficient than fuel cells. As if the energy the battery stores come from nowhere. It usually came from a power plant, most likely a fossil fuel power plant with a total efficiency in generating electricity of about 50% (at best). I'm not even talking here about the "cleanliness" of battery producing process it selves. Imagine now a world full of battery powered EVs. How much energy will be needed for powering that world? We will need fusion power plants for that. Security? As some pointed out, hydrogen tanks are more secure then gas or diesel ones. Source of Hydrogen? Even if it is obtained from hydrocarbons it is still way cleaner than gas and battery (don't tell me you will charge the battery from wind and solar, H2 can also be obtain using solar or wind energy). The road of battery, without a major progress in battery technology, is a dead end one. Yet I'm sure it will be the chosen one, ignorance is having an important say in that.
ricegf
Randy / EV, * How much petroleum or coal needs to be burned to make just one Lithium battery pack? You're referring to "well-to-wheels" studies that examine ALL emissions from the manufacture and transportation of the vehicle and its fuel. EVs emit the same pollutants over their lifespan as a 53 mpg gas vehicle in Midwestern "coal states" and as a 191 mpg gas vehicle in hydro-powered upstate NY. This is from 2x to 8x less pollution than gas vehicles. * Just how much government subsidies does Tesla Motor Cars get to bring the cost of their cars down to where somebody can buy one? Currently $3750. This will drop to $1925 in July, and to $0 by the end of the year. * How is that car economically viable without government aid? Increasingly. According to Bloomberg NEF, which advises investors (i.e., literally put their money where their mouth is), a battery electric vehicle will cost LESS to purchase than an equivalent gasoline vehicle than by 2022, due to their mechanical simplicity and the dramatic reductions in battery costs. Lifestyle costs are already less than gas cars. * The car and truck makers KNOW that all of this is one gigantic boondoggle, but it's not politically correct to speak up and say the truth, so they just go along with the dumbed down masses and make all kinds of platitudes to them to make them feel good about themselves, like they're really and truly doing a good thing "for the planet". Actually, they read the investor analyses and scientific studies I mention above, and if course the sales reports showing market growth north of 200% per year, and invest accordingly. The future is electric, so you'll eventually need to learn to deal with the reality of the situation. Happily, EVs are near zero maintenance, fun to drive with incredibly smooth acceleration and silent operation, and practically self-driving. You'll be glad you switched! ;-)