Can hydrogen power form part of a cleaner trucking future? Toyota is exploring the possibilities with a set of heavy haulers reconfigured to run on hydrogen fuel cells. The venture, dubbed "Project Portal," is now moving into its next phase, with the company to begin a pilot project that will see the zero-emission vehicles lugging goods around ports in Los Angeles later this month.
Revealed by Toyota earlier this year, Project Portal involves running trucks on the same hydrogen fuel cells that power its Mirai hydrogen car. With two fuel stacks and a 12-kWh battery onboard, the truck generates 670 hp (500 kW) and 1,325 lb-ft (1,800 Nm) of torque, with an estimated range of 200 mi (321 km) and a weight capacity of 80,000 lb (36,000 kg).
With thousands of development miles under its belt, Toyota says the trucks are now ready to be put to the test under real-world conditions. This means carrying cargo from port terminals in Los Angeles and Long Beach to nearby rail yards and warehouses, with the routes designed specifically to test the cycling capabilities of the fuel cell system. The trucks are expected to cover around 200 mi (321 km) per day, with longer routes to be introduced further down the track.
"Toyota has led the way in expanding the understanding and adoption of fuel cell technology," says Toyota Motor North America Executive Vice President Bob Carter. "From the introduction of the Mirai passenger vehicle to the creation of the heavy-duty fuel cell system in Project Portal, Toyota continues to demonstrate the versatility and scalability of the zero-emission fuel cell powertrain."
The pilot kicks off on October 23.