Toyota to assemble fuel cell modules for heavy trucks

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky will begin assembling integrated dual fuel cell modules for heavy-duty fuel-cell-electric trucks by 2023. “We’re bringing our proven electric technology to a whole new class of production vehicles,” president and chief executive officer Tetsuo Ogawa says in a related press release. “Heavy-duty truck manufacturers will be able to buy a fully integrated and validated fuel cell electric drive system, allowing them to offer their customers an emissions-free option in the Class 8 heavy-duty segment.”

(Photo: Toyota)

The dual fuel cell modules to be assembled at the plant weigh about 1,400 lb. and will deliver up to 160 kW of continuous power. “It delivers over 300 miles [482 km] of range at a full load weight of 80,000 lb., all while demonstrating exceptional drivability, quiet operation and zero harmful emissions,” says David Rosier, Toyota Kentucky powertrain head.

The related kit will also include a high-voltage battery, electric motors, transmission, and hydrogen storage from different suppliers. The OEM says it will also help truck manufacturers integrate the powertrains.

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Toyota has already been working with Kenworth on fuel-cell-electric offerings, and late last year it rolled out a pair of production-intent T680 prototypes for work around Southern California ports. Those units – delivered to Toyota Logistics Services and Southern Counties Express — were built under the Zero and Near Zero Emissions Freight Forwarding project sponsored by California.

Hino is also working alongside its Toyota parent to develop a Class 8 hydrogen fuel cell truck for the North American market, and has unveiled a prototype of its own.

That will represent the first time Hino has worked with its parent company on a joint engineering project in the region.