2019 ACT Expo: Kenworth, Toyota Show Production Fuel Cell Truck

April 22, 2019 by Alan Adler, @AlanAdler

The first production fuel cell-powered heavy-duty truck jointly developed by Toyota Motor Corp. and Kenworth Truck Co. will begin service in the fourth quarter of this year, the companies said Monday.

The goal is to develop green cargo-hauling trucks that can replace diesel big rigs and reduce pollution at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif., complex, the nation’s largest.

The new truck is the first of 10 planned under a $41 million California Air Resources Board grant matched by Toyota, Kenworth and Royal Dutch Shell. They are part of the “Shore to Store” project of California Climate Investments, which supports greenhouse gas emissions reductions with money from the sale of carbon credits.


Toyota Logistics Services will operate four of the trucks. United Parcel Service will get three, Total Transportation Services Inc. will get two, and Southern Counties Express will get one.

“With more than 10,000 alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles in our fleet today, UPS has a long history of pioneering and evaluating technologies that aid us in decreasing our environmental footprint,” said Carlton Rose, UPS president of global fleet maintenance and engineering.

The Kenworth/Toyota fuel cell electric truck was retrofitted with two fuel cells originally designed for Toyota’s Mirai fuel-cell sedan. The Japanese automaker leases that vehicle in California.

“Toyota is committed to fuel cell electric technology as a powertrain for the future,” said Bob Carter, Toyota executive vice president for automotive operations. “It’s a clean, scalable platform that can meet a broad range of mobility needs with zero emissions.”


The Los Angeles and Long Beach port complex is the largest trade gateway for containerized cargo in North America. The ports handle 20 percent of all U.S.-bound cargo. Particulate and Co2 emissions from the 16,000 trucks entering and leaving the ports daily worsen air quality in communities through which they travel.

The “Alpha” and “Beta” fuel cell trucks have logged more than 14,000 miles of testing and real-world drayage operations in and around the two Southern California ports over the last two years. Their only emission is water vapor.

The new truck extends the range of two of Toyota’s proof-of-concept trucks to more than 300 miles between hydrogen fill-ups. A typical drayage truck averages 150 miles during a daily duty cycle.

Shell plans to develop two large-capacity heavy-duty hydrogen-fueling stations in Wilmington, Calif., and Ontario, Calif., a warehousing hub located 56 miles inland from the ports. When networked with three existing hydrogen-fueling stations located at Toyota facilities and two operated by Air Liquide, more than 1 ton of hydrogen will be available daily.

The Toyota-Kenworth truck showing comes a week after startup Nikola Motor revealed the production version of its Nikola Two heavy-duty fuel cell truck targeted for late 2022. Nikola’s trucks were developed from a clean-sheet approach instead of converting an existing truck.


Nikola, Toyota and Shell are among a group of automotive and industrial companies working together to standardize hydrogen-fueling components that could get fuel cell electric trucks on the road faster.

The group, which includes Hyundai, Norwegian hydrogen station builder NEL Hydrogen Fueling and French industrial gas maker Air Liquide, wants the fueling nozzle, vehicle receptacle, dispenser hose and other components to be useable in all fuel cell vehicles.

“We absolutely feel there is a place for hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles,” said Mike Dozier, general manager of Kenworth Truck Co., which will build the remaining nine trucks in what Toyota and Kenworth internally refer to as the “Oceans 10” project.

John O'Dell April 22, 2019
Fuel cell truck developer Nikola Motor knows its future is tied directly to its ability to provide hydrogen fuel to its customers, and it has a plan that could bring hydrogen to the masses as well.

3 Responses

  1. Chuck

    This is laughable at best, there are tons of patent pending designs that were bought out by big oil companies, to stop the advancement of more gas efficient rigs, stop the technology is already here, this is bs

  2. John B

    I have been a very serious advocate of this technology for a very long time.I see some serious issues with getting things off the ground and I will try to explain.I have been in the auto industry for over 35 years and seen electric cars coming for many years.I have been dismissed as a crackpot and even attacked by people in the service departments for being a proponent of them.They have been highly resistant of them and in the sales departments too but they are here now and they weren’t prepared.It is even worse in truck shops.I recently interviewed at a Kenworth dealership and made the mistake of mentioning electric and fuelcell trucks.I am certified electric vehicle,internal high voltage battery and alternative fuels service by GM and certified by the DOE on hydrogen safety.These should be highly desirable skills to any truck dealership or service center but they are not.


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