Toyota Teams Up to Push Fuel Cell Truck Development

Toyota has teamed up with a specialist truck builder to advance its plans for a market-ready fuel cell heavy goods vehicle.

With Hino Motors, the automaker has agreed to jointly develop the vehicle and to conduct testing that leads towards its practical application. In a statement it said that in order to achieve broader reductions in CO2 emissions, major improvements will be required in the environmental performance of heavy-duty trucks, which account for about 60% of the total CO2 emissions from commercial vehicles operating in the pair’s home market of Japan.

Heavy-duty trucks are typically used for inter-city transportation. Therefore, they are required to have sufficient cruising range and load capacity as well as fast refueling capability. For this reason, fuel cell vehicles that run on hydrogen, with its high energy density, are considered effective.

The truck being developed is based on Hino Profia with a chassis specially designed to achieve the optimum packaging for a fuel cell vehicle. Toyota says steps are being taken, through comprehensive weight reduction, to ensure a sufficient load capacity. The powertrain uses with two Toyota fuel cell stacks just developed for the next generation Mirai passenger car and it includes elements of vehicle driving control applied through heavy-duty hybrid vehicle technologies developed by Hino.

Cruising range will be set at approximately 370 miles, aiming to meet high standards in both environmental performance and practicality as a commercial vehicle.

The two companies say they have positioned hydrogen as an important energy source for the future and have worked together on the development and proliferation of fuel cell technologies since conducting joint trials of a fuel cell bus in 2003.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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