Toyota and Kenworth have taken the wraps off a collaboration that will see the two companies jointly developing 10 zero-emission trucks powered by Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cell energy storage technology.
The partnership between Toyota Motor North America and Kenworth Truck Company will see 10 of Kenworth’s T680s injected with a similar hydrogen energy storage, fuel cell, and electric vehicle powertrain that Toyota pioneered in its Alpha Truck. Alpha Truck cut the path for Toyota as it worked to scale up its hydrogen fuel cell vehicle system from what was essentially two Mirai into a system that was sized appropriately for the needs of a semi truck.
“This is an excellent opportunity for Kenworth and Toyota to work together to both explore and drive the development of advanced zero emission technologies that will play a critical role in the commercial transportation of the future,” said Mike Dozier, Kenworth general manager and PACCAR vice president.
Toyota further refined the learnings from Alpha truck in its Beta Truck that saw the color of the vehicle shift from blue to red, but with little on the outside otherwise hinting at the upgrade. “This is not just a science experiment; the goal is to make a difference in society. To remove pollution and improve the air quality in and around the Port of Los Angeles,” said Bob Carter, executive vice president, Toyota Motor North America of the Kenworth partnership.
Toyota carries the lessons learned and technologies it has developed forward into the new $41 million partnership with Kenworth as part of the Zero and Near-Zero Emissions Freight Facilities (ZANZEFF) grant awarded by the California Air Resources Board (CARB).
The grant was awarded as part of a larger $82 million bundle of funds aimed at slashing emissions stemming from trucking operations in the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach. The two ports constitute a significant source of pollution that disproportionately effects the disadvantaged communities that live along the arterial routes in and out of the ports.
The new Kenworth T680s will be used in production in the ports to move cargo out of the ports into the greater Los Angeles area, putting the new hydrogen fuel cell powertrains to the test in real-world scenarios on the grueling highways of Los Angeles. The expansion of the hydrogen fuel cell truck program will also provide real-world data on the true requirements for fueling stations for a small fleet of trucks are.
Most of today’s hydrogen fueling stations were constructed to supply the needs of low volumes of consumer vehicles and the increased demand and predictable frequency of the new trucks will provide useful insights into the fueling requirements of fleets. Two new fueling stations are specifically included in the new grant package, which are subject to a final investment decision by Equilon Enterprises LLC (dba Shell Oil Products U.S.).
The new hydrogen fuel cell electric Kenworth T680s will have a range of ‘over 300 miles’ under normal drayage operating conditions, giving them sufficient range to haul goods out of the ports into the greater Los Angeles area.
Disclaimer: Toyota paid for accommodations at CES 2019.